The Forest Preserve District of Will County has extended its facility closures and program cancellations through April 30 as a result of the new coronavirus pandemic and the recent extension of the governor’s stay-at-home order.
All visitor centers, including the District’s Sugar Creek Administration Center in Joliet, preserve parking lots, dog parks and latrines will remain closed during this time period. The launching of boats will not be allowed until the preserve parking areas reopen. Kayaking is not allowed at this time due to the closure of the parking lots and for safety reasons due to limited police patrols. All public programs and volunteer workdays are now canceled through April 30; registered program participants will be contacted.
Trails will remain open as long as they can be accessed safely on foot or by bicycle and people continue to help limit the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing of at least 6 feet as recommended by health authorities. Shoreline fishing also is allowed as long as social distancing is practiced.
The closures and cancellations have been instituted to help reduce a spike in COVID-19 cases, which could overwhelm health care providers and facilities and lead to more deaths. The Forest Preserve’s actions are designed to reduce the number of people in the preserves and on trails, which will help protect members of the public and District staff from the transmission of COVID-19.
“In the best interests of everyone, stay close to home,” urged Ralph Schultz, the Forest Preserve District’s chief operating officer.
During this time period, police tickets can be paid by mail. Send payments to: Forest Preserve Police, 22606 S. Cherry Hill Road, Joliet IL 60434. Or they can be paid at the police vestibule drop box at that location from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Members of the public can contact the Forest Preserve by calling 815-727-8700 or by filling out a Contact Us form online at ReconnectWithNature.org.
For information on the new coronavirus in Will County, visit c19-willcountygis.hub.arcgis.com or call the Will County Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline, 815-740-8977, which is operational from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.