Lake County Forest Preserves updates and cancellations for summer of 2020

Lake County Forest Preserves updates and cancellations for summer of 2020
View from a trail at Fort Sheridan. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Lake County Forest Preserves (LCFP) announced today that all summer camps, science explorers and nature programs for summer of 2020 will be cancelled–many will be replaced with “virtual” programs (see below)–due to the Covid virus.

Members of the Lake County Forest Preserves Operations Committee approved a recommendation to cancel or modify all special events, concerts, and in-person education programs scheduled for this summer and fall.

Among the cancellations are the popular Civil War Days and Gospel Fest along with the Summer concert series at Independence Grove.

LCFP Golf Courses will open in phases with restrictions and no golf outings will be held. All Forest preserves and trails wii remain open 6:30 am to sunset but Dog Exercise areas will remain closed. The beach and marina at Independence Grove will also be closed for the summer of 2020.

Here are the details on events and programs that have been canceled or altered:

  • In-person summer camps running June 15–August 14 are canceled and many will be replaced with virtual camps to offer a balanced learning experience for children ages 6–14. Fees and schedules will be modified and auxiliary activities will provide at-home learning along with an outdoor adventure component. Virtual registration will be available soon at
  • Science Explorers in Nature will be offered virtually. A remote version of the program using traditional e-learning techniques will be offered to students from disadvantaged communities.
  • Conservation Explorers is canceled. The program has a two-night stay in Indiana, which is in question because the venues students visit are currently closed.
  • All nature and history educational programs, senior programs, and USG-sponsored Thursday Night programs will be conducted remotely through the rest of the year.
  • Civil War Days is canceled. The event requires up to 600 volunteers to interact in close proximity. In prior years, up to 4,000 people have attended this event over the course of the weekend.
  • Kids Nature Funfest is canceled. The event requires many organizations to participate with hands-on activities.
  • OAKtober Celebration may be modified. The tree and shrub sale could be accomplished safely through online sales and curbside pickup. The family activities and educational portions of the event may be modified to fit general health guidelines at that point in time.
  • Halloween Hikes may be modified to adapt safety features.
  • Adlai Stevenson Historic Home programs and events are canceled.

Dunn Museum
A future reopening date is undetermined and modifications may have to be made to permanent exhibitions to address public health concerns for visitors and staff.

School Field Trips
Educators are working on curriculum support for teachers. These resources help teachers with their classroom’s e-learning, supporting topics they had chosen as their field trips. Staff is piloting remote field trips when requested.

Other Events, Programs, Facility Rentals

  • Golf Courses are opening in phases as allowed under current restrictions. Check for details.
  • Golf outings are canceled for the season.
  • Summer concert series at Independence Grove in Libertyville and Greenbelt Cultural Center in North Chicago are canceled.
  • Gospelfest at Greenbelt Cultural Center is canceled.
  • Banquet and facility rentals at Independence Grove, Greenbelt Cultural Center and ThunderHawk Golf Club are canceled through May and may remain canceled into the future until state guidelines are in place that allow for large gatherings.
  • Food service at ThunderHawk Golf Club is canceled through May and will then be re-evaluated.
  • Independence Grove beach and marina will not open this season.
  • Dog Exercise Areas remain closed and will not reopen at this time based on CDC guidelines that say, “Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household. Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.”
  • Youth group camping areas and the model aircraft field are closed.
  • Picnic shelter rentals are canceled through the end of May and may remain canceled into the future until state guidelines are in place that allow for large gatherings.
  • Special use permits for third-party events held within forest preserves are canceled.
  • Staff will work with members of Stevenson Center for Democracy at the Adlai Stevenson Historic Home and the Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods, both license holders of the buildings, to assist in following the state’s public health and safety guidelines.

Forest preserves and trails remain open 6:30 am to sunset, said Executive Director Ty Kovach. “Our Ranger Police continue to closely monitor preserves and trails to ensure safety rules, social distancing and other public health guidelines are being followed,” he said. “As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we will continue to follow CDC guidelines and work in close coordination with the Lake County Health Department and other local partners.”

Due to seasonal flooding, before heading out to a forest preserve, check the interactive map at for the current status (open/closed) of preserve trails, community trail connections, and trail underpasses along the Des Plaines River Trail and the Millennium TrailPublic access is restricted at closed trails and underpasses. Please follow preserve and trail signage, and use caution around closures, construction or detour zones.

Check the Lake County Forest Preserves website ( for updates.

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