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2021 Dog Park Permits Now On Sale

Photo for: 2021 Dog Park Permits Now On Sale

(Photo by Chad Merda)

It has been a ruff year, but at least you and your pup can look forward to romping around at Forest Preserve dog parks in 2021 now that annual dog park permits are on sale. 

Permits are good for the remainder of 2020 through December 31, 2021. They can be purchased online or in person at four District visitor centers: Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon, Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville, Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township and Sugar Creek Administration Center in Joliet. Visitor center hours vary, so check online before you make a trip to purchase a permit. 

Permits also can be purchased by mailing a Dog Park Permit Application with payment to Sugar Creek Administration Center.

Sales for 2021 will not begin until November 1.


Annual permits cost $40 for county residents and $80 for nonresidents. Additional fees are charged for multiple dogs up to a maximum of three dogs. Discounts are available for senior citizens, veterans and active duty military.

Annual dog park permits can be purchased from November through June. Half-year dog park permits are offered for half price from July through October.

Dog park patrons who purchased 2020 permits before the dog parks were closed for several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year will receive a 25 percent discount when they purchase 2021 permits. Only those who purchased permits before the shutdown in mid-March will be eligible for the discount.

The discount will be added automatically during checkout either online or in person. Those who are eligible will be receiving an email to that effect during the week of October 26. Even if they are eligible, the discount will not be available for those who wait to buy half-year permits starting July 1. It will only apply for those who buy annual 2021 permits sold from November 1-June 30. 


Dog park permits can be used at all six of the District’s off-leash dog parks, which are located in these six preserves: Forked Creek in Wesley Township, Hammel Woods in Shorewood, Lower Rock Run in Joliet, Messenger Marsh in Homer Glen, Plum Valley Preserve in Crete Township and Whalon Lake in Naperville.

Each dog park has separate enclosures for large dogs and small dogs that weigh 35 pounds or less. Small dogs are free to use the large-dog enclosures, but large dogs cannot use the small-dog enclosures.

Dog park patrons must abide by all of the rules, including:

  • Dogs must be at least six months of age.
  • Permit holders may have no more than three dogs in the dog park at one time.
  • Dogs must display their rabies tags while inside the dog park.
  • Owners must wear their permit ID lanyards at all times while in the dog park.
  • Dogs must be leashed when entering and exiting the dog park.
  • Owners must remain with their dogs and keep their dogs under control at all times.

Also, dog feces must be removed and disposed of properly, according to the District’s General Use Regulation Ordinance No. 124. Tickets will be issued to those who don’t comply. Dog feces must be picked up no matter where it is in the dog park, even in the tall grass areas. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, dog feces can contain parasites and germs that can be harmful to people. The feces also can be harmful to the environment, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Finally, when applying for a permit, be sure to read all of the rules and disclaimers so you are aware of what is required. Dog park users should know that the use of dog parks entails certain risks and the Forest Preserve District is not liable for any injury or loss.


Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.


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