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The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.


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  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.

Forest Preserves

Mission Statement acquire... and hold lands containing one or more natural forests or parts thereof or lands connecting such forests or parts thereof, or lands capable of being forested, for the purpose of protecting and preserving the flora, fauna, and scenic beauties within such district, and to restore, restock, protect and preserve the natural forests and such lands together with their flora and fauna, as nearly as may be, in their natural state and condition, for the purpose of the education, pleasure, and recreation of the public...
From the Cook County Forest Preserve District Act


The comprehensive Forest Preserve District Act of 1913 was a visionary act when passed.  On November 3, 1914, the residents of Cook County voted in favor of establishing a forest preserve district whose boundaries would be analogous to the boundaries of Cook County.  The Forest Preserve District of Cook County was established on November 30, 1914 and the first meeting of the Board of Forest Preserve commissioners was February 11, 1915.

The elected Cook County Board of Commissioners was designated to act as the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners.  On June 25, 1916 the first lands were obtained.  This was a 500 acre component of what is now know as Deer Grove.  By 1922, the Districtís land holdings had grown to 21, 516 acres obtained at an average cost of $443 per acre.  Visit for a full history of the District.

Today, the Forest Preserve District holds 68,000 acres of open space.  The Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden are also owned by the Forest Preserve District.

Centennial Celebration

 The Forest Preserves of Cook County are celebrating a milestone: our 100th anniversary. During the Centennial Anniversary years of 2013 to 2015, we will strengthen our commitment to restoring valuable natural areas to ecological health, while inspiring new users from throughout the County to explore, engage with and protect our nearly 69,000 acres.
The Forest Preserves are a critical component of our urban landscape. Just like the lakefront is Chicagoís front yard, the Forest Preserves are Chicagoís back yard. During our Centennial years and beyond, we invite you to visit a preserve, share in the experience of nature and experience one of Cook Countyís true gems.

For more information about the celebration and a list of events click here

Organization and Structure

The Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners conducts its business at regularly held monthly Forest Preserve District Board meetings,

The day-to-day operations of the District are managed by a General Superintendent who is appointed by the President of the Board of Commissioners.  Visit for more information. 

Enjoying the Forest Preserves

Forest Preserves are located across Cook County and provide countless opportunities for conservation and restoration activities, educational programming and recreation and pleasure.  Preserves are open year round.  Visit the District website at to learn more. 

Related Headlines

Cook County launches forest preserve campaign
Monday, October 01, 2007

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