With more than 300 miles of paved and unpaved trails, the Forest Preserves of Cook County offers extensive pathways to truly immerse oneself in nature. And, indeed, traversing the county on foot, on bike and even on horseback are among the most popular ways visitors choose to do just that.
To promote a peaceful coexistence among all trail users, as well as provide education and information about conscientious and safe behavior, the Forest Preserves is launching "Share the Trail" month in May.
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A comprehensive brochure and interactive digital adventure (fpdcc.com/sharethetrail) have been developed to outline best practices, tips and guidelines for all trail users. Friendly and informational signs will be placed throughout the preserves to provide guidance when interacting with other users.
And teams of goodwill ambassadors will be out on the trails greeting visitors and answering questions every weekend.
General Superintendent Arnold Randall is enthusiastic about nurturing the valuable asset that is the trail system.
"We are approaching this campaign from a variety of angles. We have partnered with equestrian clubs, bike clubs, and our own volunteer corps to participate in creating a visible, positive presence on the trails throughout the month," he said.
"Of course, we want to encourage good etiquette and safety throughout the year, and we think this effort is a great way to inspire our visitors to do so."
Look for goodwill ambassadors from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at these sites on these weekends: Skokie Lagoons on May 10; Paul Douglas Preserve, Bemis Woods, Midlothian Woods, Flossmoor Woods on May 11; Burnham Greenway Bike Trail (10 a.m.-2 p.m.), Swallow Cliff (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) May 17; Maple Lake Mountain Bike Staging Area (11 a.m.-3 p.m.), Poplar Creek on May 18; Burnham Greenway Bike Trail (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) on May 24; I&M Canal, Deer Grove on May 25; Thorn Creek Preserve, Swallow Cliff on May 31.
"Share the Trail" month is also serving as a springboard for the relaunched Trail Watch Program. Trail Watch volunteers serve as a positive, visible presence on our trails through support, monitoring and reporting. To become a Trail Watch Volunteer, visit fpdcc.com/volunteer and search for "Trail Watch."
Established in 1914, the Forest Preserves of Cook County is the oldest and one of the largest forest preserve systems in the nation, maintaining 69,000 acres of open land for the education, pleasure and recreation of the public.
The Forest Preserves strives to protect and restore the county's diverse ecosystems, so all our unique native plants and animals can live and thrive. Each year, millions of people use these lands and facilities to enjoy or study nature, bicycle, hike, fish, cross-country ski, picnic, golf, canoe, or relax in a large preserve that leaves urban life behind.
For more information on the Forest Preserves of Cook County, visit fpdcc.com.
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