Suffredin- Changing County Government  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine


  Office phone numbers:  

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


Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

  Cook County was created on January 15, 1831 and named after Daniel P. Cook, Member of Congress and the first Attorney from the State of Illinois.

Equestrians want trail user fees ended

Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
by Donna Vickroy

Susan Collins loves horses. She also loves the many trails that wind through the Cook County Forest Preserve District, particularly those in the Palos Trail System.

What she doesn’t love is that she and her fellow equestrians have to pay a fee to use those trails.  

“Equestrians are the only user group that has to pay to use the multi-use trails,” said Collins, president of the Palos Hills Horsemen’s Association. A retired elementary school teacher, Collins and other equestrians have been fighting the county over the fees for 11 years.

“For the most part we have a very good relationship with the forest preserve district,” she said. “But it’s not fair that we have to pay to use the same trails everyone else uses for free.” The fight comes indoors Tuesday when Cook County Commissioners are expected to vote on a proposed amendment to eliminate the horse licensing fees during a special meeting before its annual vote on the 2014 budget.

 Gorman is proposing to eliminate all equestrian trail riding fees. The forest preserve folks are dead set against it. They’re proposing the alternative: that the money collected be used just for equestrian-related things. But there’s a chance neither amendment will pass and things will simply remain as they are.

Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman, 17th District, and Commissioner Jeffrey R. Tobolski , 16th District, are cosponsoring the measure that would eliminate the equestrian fees.

“These fees go way back,” Gorman said. “At the time, equestrians were considered ‘unique’ users of the trails. “But the equestrians in my constituency believe they are being discriminated against, so I proposed the change,” Gorman said.

Arnold Randall, general superintendent of the FPDCC, said equestrians are a valuable part of the forest preserve community, but one that has been paying a fee to use the trails since at least the 1940s.

Currently, an annual riding license for Cook County residents costs $30 per horse and $4 per rider. Non-residents pay $45 and $4 respectively.

“This is nothing new,” Randall said. “We think it’s a pretty reasonable amount when you consider that there are some special issues with horses. These are 800 to 1,200-pound animals.”

He added the district does a lot for horse riders, from maintaining trails to installing signs and educating the public about safety issues when it encounters horses on the trails.

Still, he said, he recognizes that this group feels it is being discriminated against, so this year, the district began offering a $4/$5 day pass for those who didn’t want to pay the annual fee.

“The day pass was created specifically at the request of this (Palos area) group,” he said. “We are committed to working with everyone, including horse riders.”

Randall added that equestrians are not the only forest preserve users who pay a user fee. Picnickers must pay for permits and people who patronize aquatic centers pay an admission fee, he said.

“Everything we do cannot be managed by taxes,” Randall said. “Horseback riding is a very special, very specific thing.” The district issued some 700 tags for equestrians in 2013, with 140 of them being purchased by riders in the Palos area.

“The Palos Trail System is among the best in the system,” he said, adding that the fees collected help to ensure that. The FPDCC has proposed an alternative measure that would redirect the $40,000 that is collected annually through the fees from the general fund into a fund that directly benefits horse riders, such as in the installation of more hitching posts, Randall said.

 It’s uncertain whether either plan has a chance of passage on Tuesday. Collins, who has served on the forest preserve district’s master trail plan and recreational committees, said DuPage, Kane, Will and McHenry counties do not charge equestrian fees. “Only Lake County does,” she said. “But it also has equestrian-only trails.”

Recent Headlines

System News
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

Women Jail Guards Say Sheriff’s Department Tolerated Sexual Harassment By Cook County Inmates
Monday, May 06, 2019
WBEZ Chicago public Radio

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.