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Nov. 15 is Opening Day for Forest Preserves of Cook County Picnic and Special Event Permit Sales, 2020 Camping Reservations


The new year offers numerous opportunities for Cook County residents to come together with family and friends. From birthdays and reunions to holidays and special event gatherings, the public can head to the Forest Preserves to plan their upcoming celebrations outside while surrounded by nature.


Online and in-person permit sales for 2020 picnics and special events, as well as campground reservations begin at 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 15. In-person sales will take place from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Forest Preserves of Cook County General Headquarters, 536 N. Harlem Ave. in River Forest, or at the Dan Ryan Visitor Center, 8700 S. Western Ave. in Chicago.


Online sales will also open at 8 a.m. on Nov. 15, and will remain available 24 hours a day. In addition to saving time by purchasing permits online, visitors can view information such as site availability, grove maps and the various fees associated with grove rentals by visiting


Those planning to apply for permits in person must have a valid Federal/state issued identification card. Accepted payment methods are cash, check or credit card (Visa or MasterCard). Purchasers should begin completing their permit application immediately upon arrival to expedite wait time, and have two or three additional locations in mind in case the first choice is not available.


Regular hours at the General Headquarters location are Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Seasonal hours are Memorial Day through Labor Day, Mondays through Fridays 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at General Headquarters.


Picnic permits are required for groups of 25 or more. To reserve picnic groves and request event spaces either online or in-person, patrons must first set up an account at


Permits for groups with 1,000+ attendees may now be requested. Customers may submit applications in-person at the General Headquarters location, via email at or via fax at (708) 771-1071.


In 2019, more than 7,000 permits were sold for picnics and special events. Top sites for picnics and special events include Dan Ryan Woods in Chicago, Busse Woods in northwest Cook County, and Schiller Woods in Chicago/Schiller Park.


2020 Camping Reservations


In addition to picnic permits, all 2020 camping dates are available beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 15. Camping reservations can be made online at; by phone at (855) YES-CAMP (937-2267); or in person at Forest Preserves Campgrounds Camp Sullivan, Camp Bullfrog Lake or Camp Reinberg during office hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on business days or on weekends when there are campers. For campground contact information, visit


Residents and visitors can still enjoy camping at Camps Reinberg, Sullivan and Bullfrog Lake throughout winter; there is limited availability of heated cabins at some campgrounds in addition to tent camping and RVs. Camp Dan Beard in Northbrook is open for winter camping to large groups only.  


For questions or assistance with making camping reservations, call (855) YES-CAMP (937-2267). For questions or assistance with online permit purchases, contact Forest Preserves permits staff by calling (800) 870-3666 or visit





About the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Don’t you sometimes just want to escape? Explore the natural beauty of Cook County for an hour, a day or even a night. When you’re surrounded by 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful there’s no better place to feel free.


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Keywords: Cook County, Cook County Forest Preserves, Parks, Permits

Posted in City of Chicago, Community Highlights, Government Resources and Services