How would you like to go camping without the long drive?
The Forest Preserve District of Cook County has drafted a plan to greatly expand camping facilities, including renovating and constructing cabins, bunkhouses and a lodge, a new Camp Pine Woods in Northbrook along the Des Plaines River, and more.
It would also expand camping to adults and families; currently only organized youth groups, such as scouts, can use the three overnight camps.
Residents will also have opportunities to provide input on the expansion at a series of public meetings. The plan for the additional camping services is expected to be completed in October, according to the FPDCC.
- Wednesday, Aug. 22, 1 p.m., in downtown Chicago at 69 West Washington St., 22nd Floor.
- Wednesday, Aug. 22, 7 p.m., Little Red School House Nature Center, 9800 104th Ave. in Willow Springs.
- Thursday, Aug. 23, online at 1 p.m. Visit the forest preserve's website to be redirected to the online meeting.
- Thursday, Aug. 23, at 7 p.m. at River Trail Nature Center, 3120 Milwaukee Ave. in Northbrook.
You can also email your thoughts on camping to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The forest preserve requests everyone register for the meetings, but registration is not required.
Here are some details on proposals in the plan, from the FPDCC:
- Day use camping sites throughout the district that will engage youth and families through new programs and recreation opportunities.
- Renovation of the cabins and barn at Camp Sullivan in Tinley Park and new cabins at Camp Reinberg in Palatine.
- Existing cabins at Camp Falcon in Tinley Park, and at Camp Reinberg would be demolished.
- Two bunkhouses, each of which would sleep 32 people, at both Shabbona Woods, adjacent to the Sand Ridge Nature Center in South Holland, and the Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington. Crabtree would also hold six tent platforms.
- Six tent platforms in Thatcher Woods in River Forest, which would serve as a base for canoe and kayak trips down the Des Plaines River.
- New primitive campsite at the Skokie Lagoons, accessible by foot, featuring twelve tent platforms.
- A new Camp Pine Woods along the Des Plaines River in Northbrook. The campground would feature 24 tent cabins arranged in pods to accommodate either groups or individuals, as well as multiple tent platforms.
- The creation of a legacy campground site along Bullfrog Lake in Pulaski Woods in Willow Springs. The proposed site includes a lodge that would sleep 80 individuals, 12 family camping cabins and tent platforms.
All of the proposed campsites are accessible to people with special needs and are intended to be available for rental by the general public, as well as organized youth groups.
The lodge at the legacy site would also be available for weddings, conferences and corporate retreats.
The Forest Preserve District shaped the plan based on a spring survey in which 1,300 people indicated their preferences regarding camping.