For everyone’s safety and enjoyment, you must follow these rules and regulations.
- You must have either a valid daily private boating permit in your possession or a valid annual permit affixed to the bow of your craft above the water line.
- If you have a canoe, kayak, paddleboat or rowboat, you must also have either an Illinois Department of Natural Resources water usage stamp or IDNR registration affixed to the bow. If your watercraft has a motor, you must have an IDNR registration.
- You can only boat on four forest preserve lakes: Silver Lake at Blackwell, Round Meadow Lake at Hidden Lake, Mallard Lake at Mallard Lake and Deep Quarry Lake at West Branch. You must be off the water by sunset and can only boat on Silver Lake March 1 – Nov. 30.
- Your watercraft must be under 20 feet long. Boats, canoes, kayaks, multichambered inflatables with factory-installed hardened floors and transoms, and paddleboats with foot wells are allowed on all four lakes. Sailboats are only allowed on Silver Lake. Sailboards or surfboards (floating devices without foot wells or railings), paddle boards, rafts, pontoons, or pontoon-like paddleboats are not allowed on any lake.
- Your watercraft must be nongasoline-powered. You can use a boat with an attached gas motor but must tilt the motor in the upright position and remove all fuel tanks and fuel lines.
- You cannot race, tilt canoes, have boating contests, conduct training procedures, or enter the water from your watercraft.
- Per federal and state regulations, your watercraft must have one well-fitting, wearable, Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device for each person on board, and boaters under 13 must wear their PFDs at all times. Watercraft longer than 16 feet (except canoes and kayaks) must also have at least one Type IV throwable PFD. Per District regulations, boaters of all ages must wear PFDs in private canoes and kayaks.
- You cannot carry passengers and cargo with a total combined weight that’s greater than your watercraft’s posted safe carrying capacity. You must have the manufacturer’s capacity plate permanently affixed to the watercraft.
- Use the boat ramp at Silver Lake. At Round Meadow, Mallard Lake and Deep Quarry Lake, you must transport watercraft on or in a vehicle (no trailers) and carry it to the water, where you can launch from any location unless otherwise posted.
- Illinois law requires that you remove all aquatic plants and animals from all watercraft and equipment before moving watercraft or equipment away from any body of water.
- You must follow all Forest Preserve District of DuPage County ordinances, state statutes and administrative orders. The Forest Preserve District may modify these private boating rules and regulations at any time.
Boating on Rivers
You do not need a Forest Preserve District permit to boat on either branch of the DuPage River, Salt Creek or the Des Plaines River, but you do need an Illinois water usage stamp or state registration. For complete state boating requirements, visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources boating webpage.
You can enter these waterways at any practical forest preserve location except The Preserve at Oak Meadows. The District offers easy access to the West Branch DuPage River at Blackwell, Warrenville Grove and McDowell Grove and to Salt Creek at Salt Creek Park, Cricket Creek, Salt Creek Greenway at Hunter Road (take-out only), and Fullersburg Woods near the Graue Mill parking lot.