One of the best ways to enjoy the Forest Preserve District is through recreational activities, which offer countless opportunities to get outside and experience nature. To complete this portion of the challenge, follow the submission details listed for each activity. This is a perfect time to take some notes and share your experience in written form.
Many of these activities can be accomplished in conjunction with other activities, so it’s a great chance for you to get closer to completing the Spring Preserve Challenge! One note: While using the trails, be aware of other trail users and your personal safety.
Hike a natural surface trail
Experience nature along one of the Forest Preserve District’s natural surface trails. Some trails to consider include those at Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve, Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve, Messenger Woods Nature Preserve, Raccoon Grove Nature Preserve, Sugar Creek Preserve and Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve.
For this activity, submit the date and the name of the trail where you hiked along with some observations you made.
Bike a regional trail
Among the most popular activities for trail users is cycling. The opportunity to move at a good pace through the trail system is made easier when you use a bicycle. For this challenge, use one of the regional trails crisscrossing the preserves and log some miles.
Then, submit the date, the name of the trail where you biked and some observations you made.
Picnic at a shelter
Grab your lunch or dinner and head out to a preserve for a picnic. With shelters and groves perfect for an enjoyable outdoor meal, the preserves are perfect for your next family outing or celebration. One note: A permit is required for all gatherings of more than 25 people.
For this activity, submit the date and location of your picnic, the meal you ate and some observations you made.
Kayak or canoe at a preserve
Boating in the preserves is an activity that continues to increase in popularity. With several different locations where you can launch a kayak or canoe or rent one, this challenge is designed to get you out on the water.
The District has canoe/kayak launches at Hammel Woods – DuPage River Access, Hammel Woods – Route 59 Access, Riverview Farmstead Preserve, McKinley Woods – Frederick's Grove, McKinley Woods – Kerry Sheridan Grove and Isle a la Cache. Kayaking and canoeing are also permitted at four of the District’s fishing lakes: Whalon Lake, Rock Run Rookery Preserve, Lake Chaminwood Preserve and Monee Reservoir. Don’t have your own kayak or canoe? The District rents kayaks at Monee Reservoir, and you can rent through Naperville Kayak at Whalon Lake.
Kayakers and canoers must follow all District rules and regulations on the water. All Illinois Department of Natural Resources watercraft regulations are enforced in the preserves. Children under the age of 13 must wear personal flotation devices in all instances when on water. Individuals must be 12 years old or older to launch a personal canoe or kayak. Those younger than 18 years of age must also be accompanied by an adult on the water.
For this activity, submit the date and location of your water excursion and some observations from your experience.
Go camping at a District campsite
There are few ways better to reconnect with nature than by camping. The District offers primitive campsites at five preserves across the county: Forked Creek – Ballou Road Access, Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve, Hammel Woods – DuPage River Access, McKinley Woods – Frederick’s Grove and Messenger Woods Nature Preserve. Each site has access to fire pits, accessible latrines and a water fountain or hand pump (not available during winter months). Overnight stays require a permit, which must be obtained no less than two business days prior to the reservation.
Don’t have your own camping gear? No problem! The Forest Preserve District offers gear through its No Gear, No Problem program. Rental gear includes tents, sleeping bags, lanterns and cooking kits.
Attend a public program
The Forest Preserve District offers a variety of programs throughout the year. These include smaller, education-based programs as well as larger community events. Through pubic programs, you can learn about wildlife, natural habitats, recreation opportunities and more.
You can check the schedule of upcoming programs on our Event Calendar. Please note that some programs require registration.
For this activity, submit the date, program you attended and feedback regarding the program.