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posted: 8/14/2014 2:13 PM

Families can pitch tents in forest preserves on wilderness weekend

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Submitted by Forest Preserves of Cook County

Families from Chicago and across Cook County can experience the great outdoors in new ways during a series of camping activities in the Forest Preserves of Cook County the weekend of Sept. 20. For the second year, an overnight "camp-out" will be held in the Palos Preserves in partnership with the Chicago Park District.

"We are excited to give families an opportunity to connect with nature, and each other, with an overnight camp-out in the Forest Preserves," Forest Preserves of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said. "We think that it's important that children understand that they are as much caretakers of our county's green spaces as we adults are. Getting them to experience nature is a great way to teach them just that."

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The Family Camp Out will be held on Friday, Sept. 20 and Saturday, Sept. 21. Registration is open to all Cook County residents; up to 100 families will have the opportunity to sleep under the stars at Bullfrog Lake, cook over a campfire, and enjoy night hikes, canoeing, storytelling and other nature activities. Food and tents will be provided. The fee is $50 per family of up to 6 people and families are limited to one reservation. Email Experience.Nature@cookcountyil.gov to register and for more information.

In 2012, the Forest Preserves released its camping master plan, outlining plans for renovating or creating six new public campsites in Cook County, including at Bullfrog Lake. The project is currently in the construction phase with the first public campgrounds scheduled to open in 2015.

Established in 1914, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County is the oldest and largest forest preserve system in the nation, maintaining more than 68,000 acres of open land for the education, pleasure and recreation of the public. The district 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 visitors use these lands and facilities to enjoy or study nature, bicycle, hike, fish, cross-country ski, picnic, golf, canoe, or simply relax in a large preserve that leaves urban life behind. For more information on the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, visit www.fpdcc.com.

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