Boating & Private Watercraft

Boating & Private Watercraft

Whether you rent one of our boats or bring your own private watercraft, you can enjoy several DuPage forest preserves from the water.

herrick-lake-couple-canoes

 

Boat Rentals

Rent canoes, kayaks and rowboats at Blackwell weekends through the end of September and daily Memorial Day through Labor Day. 

You can also rent watercraft weekends at Herrick Lake Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

Rentals end one hour before closing.

 

Blackwell and Herrick Lake (cash or credit)
A valid driver's license required for deposit. Fees include life jackets and paddles. 

DuPage Resident or Nonresident  
Rowboat or single kayak $12/hour
Canoe or tandem kayak $15/hour
Rowboat with trolling motor (at Blackwell only)       $20/hour


Blackwell

April – September  
Weekends, Memorial Day, July 4 & Labor Day 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Weekdays (Memorial Day – Labor Day) 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

 

Herrick Lake
Weekends only Memorial Day – Labor Day
Plus Memorial Day, July 4 & Labor Day
11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
For weekday rentals, please visit Blackwell or book a private
Have it at Herrick outing.

 

Bring Your Own Watercraft

Private Watercraft on Lakes

With a Forest Preserve District permit you can use select watercraft on four lakes  — Silver Lake at Blackwell (boat ramp), Round Meadow Lake at Hidden Lake (carry-in only), Mallard Lake at Mallard Lake (carry-in only) and Deep Quarry Lake at West Branch (carry-in only). You need either an annual permit affixed to the bow above the waterline or a receipt for a daily permit. Senior citizens are entitled to one free annual permit per household per calendar year.

Your watercraft must be under 20 feet long and have a valid hull identification number. You can’t use gas motors but can use electric ones, but a boat with any kind of motor must have state registration. Inflatable watercraft must have multiple air chambers and either 1) certification by the National Marine Manufacturers Association or the Coast Guard through the manufacturer or 2) factory-made hardened floors. Float tubes and floating devices without foot wells or railings are not allowed.

You also need to have a properly fitting, wearable, Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device for each person on board. Boaters under 13 must wear them at all times, and all boaters regardless of age must wear them in canoes, kayaks, sailboats and inflatable watercraft.

Stand-up paddleboarding is allowed only on Silver Lake at Blackwell with a private watercraft permit.

You can purchase an annual private watercraft permit online or through Visitor Services at 630-933-7248. You can also purchase an annual permit at Blackwell when it's open and daily permits (cash only) at steel lockboxes at all four lakes. 


Private Watercraft on Rivers

If you're boating on either branch of the DuPage River or on Salt Creek, you don't need a Forest Preserve District permit but you do need to follow all state regulations.

You can enter at any practical forest preserve location except at The Preserve at Oak Meadows, but there's 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.


Permits & Fees

Boaters can purchase daily and annual permits online 24/7. For other options, download our private watercraft permit application (PDF) or call Visitor Services at 630-933-7248. You can also purchase an annual permit at Blackwell when it's open and daily permits (cash only) at steel lockboxes at all four lakes identified above. Senior citizens 65 or older are entitled to one free annual permit per household per calendar year with proof of age (driver's license or birth certificate).

Private Boating Permits


Annual permits are for the calendar year January – December.

Private Boating Permits

DuPage resident
First boat
$30/year

Each additional boat
$15/year

Daily permit
$5/day


Nonresident

First boat 
$50/year

Each additional boat
$35/year

Daily permit
$10/day

Private Watercraft Rules & Regulations

For everyone’s safety and enjoyment, you must follow these rules and regulations, which the Forest Preserve District may change at any time.

Kayaks, Canoes, Rowboats, Motorboats and Similar Watercraft

  • Only boat on the four designated DuPage forest preserve lakes: Silver Lake at Blackwell, Round Meadow Lake at Hidden LakeMallard Lake at Mallard Lake and Deep Quarry Lake at West Branch. Silver Lake has a boat launch, which is open March 1 – Nov. 30. The other three lakes are carry-in only. At these three, you must manually move your watercraft from the parking lot to the water. If you’re using a trailer, you must unhitch it and park it in its own individual parking space.
  • Affix your annual permit to the bow of your craft above the waterline, or carry the receipt for your daily permit when you’re on the water. Present it to a Forest Preserve District agent for inspection if requested.
  • Your watercraft must have a valid hull identification number (HIN).
  • Do not use watercraft over 20 feet long, float tubes, or floating devices without foot wells or railings.
  • You cannot use gas motors but can use electric ones. If your craft has any kind of motor, it must have the proper state registration.
  • If you have an inflatable watercraft, it must have multiple air chambers and either 1) certification by the National Marine Manufacturers Association or the Coast Guard through the manufacturer or 2) a factory-made hardened floor.
  • Per federal and state regulations, your watercraft must have one properly fitting, wearable, Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device for each person on board. If it’s 16 feet or longer it must also have a Coast Guard-approved throwable flotation device. Boaters under 13 years old must wear their personal flotation devices at all times, and per Forest Preserve District regulations all boaters regardless of age must wear their personal flotation devices in canoes, kayaks, sailboats and inflatable watercraft.
  • You cannot carry passengers and cargo with a total combined weight greater than your watercraft’s posted safe-carrying capacity. The manufacturer’s capacity plate must be permanently affixed to your watercraft.
  • You must be off the water by sunset, and per Illinois law, you must remove all aquatic plants and animals from all equipment before you leave the shore.
  • Do not swim or enter the water from your watercraft.
Stand-Up Paddleboards
  • You can only paddleboard on Silver Lake at Blackwell and only during the paddleboarding season, which is June 1 – Oct. 31.
  • Only stand-up paddleboarding is allowed, and only one person can be on a paddleboard at a time. You cannot paddleboard with pets.
  • Paddleboards cannot be over 20 feet long, and inflatable paddleboards must have multiple air chambers.
  • When you’re on the water, wear or carry your annual permit or a receipt for a daily permit, and make sure it’s visible. Present it to a Forest Preserve District agent for inspection if requested.
  • Regardless of your age, you must wear a properly fitting, wearable, Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device. If you fall in the water, immediately get back on your paddleboard; do not swim to shore.
  • You must be off the water by sunset, and per Illinois law, you must remove all aquatic plants and animals from all equipment before you leave the shore.

As a permit holder you agree to abide by these rules and regulations as well as all Forest Preserve District ordinances and administrative orders and state statutes. You also understand that the Forest Preserve District may fine you or revoke your permit without refunding your permit fee if you supply false information on your application or fail to comply with any rules, regulations, ordinances, orders or statutes.

  

Zebra Mussels

The Forest Preserve District has found nonnative, invasive zebra mussels in four lakes at three preserves: Deep Quarry and Bass lakes at West Branch, Mallard Lake at Mallard Lake, and Eagle Lake at Hidden Lake. You can help stop their spread no matter where you boat or fish.

  • Remove all plants, animals and mud from boats, equipment and trailers.
  • Drain all water from your boat and gear and dry everything thoroughly with a towel.
  • Empty all bait buckets in garbage cans or dumpsters before leaving the lake. (You can’t see juvenile zebra mussels with the naked eye.)

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County offers scores of nature-related programs and activities for grownups, kids, families and groups year-round. Click below to register for programs, reserve shelters and campsites or purchase permits, and we'll see you soon!

Register
Reserve Facility
Purchase Permit