Bans To Be Lifted On Juggling, Acrobatic Feats And Other Prohibited Activities

CHICAGO (CBS) – Juggling, fortune telling, and cross-dressing are all technically forbidden in Cook County Forest Preserves. But not for long.

Currently, the county Forest Preserve District code still has a list of forbidden “miscellaneous misdemeanors” that dates from generations ago. But now the Forest Preserve District plans to rewrite the outdated parts of the code and eliminate some of the antiquated rules, spokesman Steve Mayberry said.

The rules currently on the books forbid anyone from “juggling or any other unlawful games or plays” in the forest preserve. It is also forbidden to “indulge in any acrobatic feats.”

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Fortune telling on forest preserve grounds is also prohibited, as is entering a forest preserve “in a dress not properly belonging to his or her sex.”

However, Mayberry said, the Forest Preserve District has decided to clean up its books to catch up with the times. Once it does, there will be nothing to stop forest preserve visitors from doing full-twist back flips or giving tarot readings. The board is expected to take up the matter on Dec. 15,

“There’s a rule against fortune telling in the forest preserves. I’m sure there was a good reason for that at one time,” Mayberry said. “But if the code is to be taken as a serious document – and it is – that’s something we’ll likely have to purge as well.”

None of this will have any major impact on people who usually use the forest preserves, Mayberry said.

“For your average picnic-goer, your average recreational user… nothing is going to impact them in the way of changes,” Mayberry said. “As times change, sometimes the laws change, and that’s simply what you see at work here.”

And most of the existing rules will stay in place. Restrictions on horse racing and gambling will remain in place, and any kind of public sex in the forest preserve will remain strictly forbidden – both by the forest preserve code and by criminal law, Mayberry said.

Mayberry says the changes to the code will likely be completed within the next eight weeks. They are expected to go before the Cook County Board when the body holds its December meeting as the Forest Preserve Board.

Adam Harrington,