Forest Preserves of Cook County promotes “Memorial Day at Home”

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With extended closures over the holiday, suggested alternatives for a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend

The Forest Preserves of Cook County is asking patrons and visitors to spend the upcoming Memorial Day at Home. Over the three-day holiday weekend, the preserves traditionally are full of visitors enjoying cookouts, picnics and family gatherings. This year, with health and safety guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Forest Preserves urges people to make Memorial Day memorable at home.

“Memorial Day is a time when we pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. As an unofficial start to summer, the holiday is always one of our busiest weekends in the Forest Preserves. This year, that’s not a safe way to celebrate. We hope that with Memorial Day at Home, our patrons will find other creative ways to honor the fallen and to be with family,” said Arnold Randall, the General Superintendent of the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

For Memorial Day weekend, the Forest Preserves is adding two preserves to the list of six sites that have weekend parking closures to limit the size of crowds: Dan Ryan Woods and Schiller Woods. The Forest Preserves is also extending the weekend parking closures to Memorial Day itself at Busse Woods, Maple Lake, Saganashkee Slough, Catherine Chevalier Woods, LaBagh Woods and Bunker Hill. At all these sites, parking lots will be closed Friday May 22 through Monday May 25.

Due to COVID-19, picnics or cookouts, group sports and gatherings with people outside your household are prohibited at all Forest Preserves sites, and physical distancing must be observed at all times.

The Forest Preserves is promoting Memorial Day at Home activities as alternatives to a cookout or family get-together in the preserves.

  • Remember the reason for Memorial Day: Find a creative way to honor those who have given their lives while serving in the Armed Forces. This year, thanks can include our first responders and medical staff on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Share your grill: Post a photo of your impressive or intriguing barbeque or family meal—or give us a glimpse of your famous family recipe. Tag the Forest Preserves on Instagram and we’ll share the best of the best, @fpdcc.
  • Order in from a local restaurant:  Support your local economy in these difficult times and enjoy a meal from a favorite spot or a local restaurant you have never tried before.
  • Connect with nature: Enjoy the natural world in your backyard or neighborhood. Find activities, information and videos about local plants and wildlife from Forest Preserves naturalists at www.fpdcc.com/nature-at-home.

“We continue to honor the veterans who have given their lives serving our country. However, we must be responsible. We should represent our veterans by being safe and staying at home,” said Bill Browne, the Cook County Director of Veterans Affairs. “The more we act responsibly, the more lives we’ll save.”

In mid-March, the Forest Preserves cancelled all public events and closed specific sites that do not easily allow for social distancing, including nature centers, campgrounds and the Swallow Cliff stairs. Since, the Forest Preserves has closed sites or parking lots at some preserves in response to changing conditions or public health guidelines.

For updated information on site closures, event cancellations, a list of recommended visitor precautions and more, visit the Forest Preserves COVID-19 web page: https://fpdcc.com/coronavirus.

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