CHICAGO (CBS) — Camping for Chicago area residents soon may not have to mean a long drive to Wisconsin or a more remote part of Illinois.
The Cook County Forest Preserve District is developing a new Camping Master Plan. Camping is now limited to overnight youth groups, but the forest preserve is considering plans to accommodate families, retreat or reunion groups, day camps or those with special needs.
The forest preserve is also looking to improve existing youth group camp facilities.
To advance the new plan, the Forest Preserve District is asking the public to take a survey on what they want to experience when camping in the Cook County forest preserves.
The survey asks respondents to about the nature-based education, outdoor recreational, and outdoor cultural programs that are of greatest interest.
The survey also asks if respondents would consider overnight camping in the forest preserve, and if so, what factors would be most important – whether the presence of a unique natural setting, amenities such as restrooms and tent pads, or access to boating or fishing.
Respondents are also asked whether the Forest Preserve should provide day camp facilities.
Currently, camping in the forest preserve is only permitted for supervised youth groups of either girls or boys at Camp Sullivan in Tinley Park, Camp Alphonse near Palatine, and Camp Glenview in Glenview. Camp Sullivan offers cabins and a lodge with bunk beds as well as tent camping, while the other two venues only offer tent camping with well water and outhouse facilities.
Camping for adults, families and other groups is not currently allowed in the Cook County forest preserves. Trailers and campers are also forbidden.