“Every visitor plays a critical role in practicing safe social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Forest Preserve District of DuPage County President Daniel Hebreard. “It is imperative that everyone in DuPage County — without exception — follows social distancing and public health guidelines.
“We understand that nature and our open spaces play an important role in the physical and mental health of residents. However, if visitors decide not to follow the guidelines set forth by the District and CDC, the District will be forced to close its preserves indefinitely,” Hebreard said.
On Friday, the Forest Preserve District closed Rocky Glen Waterfall at Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Darien to stop visitors from congregating in the area.
With warmer weather on the way, public interest in forest preserves and outdoor activities deemed essential under the governor’s executive order are expected to increase.
The Forest Preserve District will closely monitor congestion in its forest preserve parking lots. At more popular preserves, the District may limit parking lot access to DuPage residents only in an effort to alleviate congestion and large crowds.
If a DuPage forest preserve is crowded, the District strongly encourages people to visit other nearby less-crowded preserves or revisit the preserve during off-peak times. DuPage forest preserve hours have been revised to opening one hour after sunrise and closing at sunset.
Many preserves feature open spaces and off-trail areas to hike. Visit dupageforest.org/places-to-go/forest-preserves
for a map and complete list of all DuPage forest preserves.
“The District expects all visitors to understand the seriousness of the current situation and importance of social distancing while engaging in the limited outdoor activities allowed under the executive order,” said Forest Preserve District Executive Director Ed Stevenson.
The majority of DuPage forest preserve’s 26,000 acres remain accessible, though all buildings, visitor centers, restrooms and centers with animal-care services (Willowbrook Wildlife Center, Kline Creek Farm and Danada Equestrian Center) are closed to the public. For a complete list of what’s open and closed, visit dupageforest.org/coronavirus
The Forest Preserve District actively promotes compliance with the governor’s executive order and encourages visitors to follow these recommendations while visiting DuPage forest preserves:
● Stay home if you’re sick or have been near someone who’s sick.
● Practice safe social distancing and stay at least 6 feet away from the next person. (Forest preserve limestone trails are 8 to 10 feet wide.) If this is not possible, move to another location.
● Make sure other visitors know you’re near if they can’t see you. (A simple “passing from behind” works.) Stay at least 6 feet away as you pass.
● Do not gather in groups in the preserves.
● Don’t touch things others might also touch, such as signs, benches or shelters.
● Note that all forest preserve restrooms are closed and water fountains are off, and time your visits accordingly.
● Visit only with members of your household.