Forest Preserves of Cook County

Cause Area

  • Community
  • Environment


536 N Harlem AveRiver Forest, IL 60305 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

The Forest Preserves of Cook County, with nearly 70,000 acres, is one of the oldest and largest forest preserve districts in the United States. It receives an estimated 62 million visits each year, providing an escape into a world teeming with wildlife and rich with outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities. Within its boundaries are rare habitats that offer plant and animal diversity on par with the rainforests of the world.


Although Cook County is one of the most densely populated areas in the country, it is the most ecologically diverse county in Illinois. The protected open spaces of the Forest Preserves of Cook County are a big reason both those facts can be true.

Our prairies, woodlands, wetlands and savannas are home to native plants and wildlife, including more than a hundred threatened or endangered species. And more than 25 sites within the Forest Preserves have been designated as an Illinois Nature Preserve-the highest level of protection for natural lands in the state.

To maintain robust ecosystems for plants and animals in an urban landscape, nature needs our help. Forest Preserves staff work with nonprofit partners and thousands of volunteers to conserve, preserve and restore the land, guided by plans like our Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan and using effective management techniques like prescribed burning.


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