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County forest preserves to close more parking lots for Memorial Day weekend: ‘Enjoy the natural world in your backyard’

Dan Ryan Woods and Schiller Woods will join a list of six sites that have already seen their parking lots closed due to concerns around social distancing and following public health guidelines. 

Signs are displayed at the Busse Forest Nature Preserve
Signs are displayed at the Busse Forest Nature Preserve which is closed Friday-Sunday until further notice during the coronavirus pandemic at Busse Woods in Rolling Meadows.
Nam Y. Huh/AP

The Cook County Forest Preserves officials announced Monday that they plan to close additional parking lots for the Memorial Day weekend in an effort to curb crowding.

Dan Ryan Woods and Schiller Woods will join a list of six sites that have already seen their parking lots closed over the weeends due to concerns about social distancing and other public health guidelines.

The parking lots at the other six preserves — Busse Woods, Maple Lake, Saganashkee Slough, Catherine Chevalier Woods, LaBagh Woods and Bunker Hill — were already closed Fridays through Sundays in April and will remain closed on Memorial Day itself, a statement from the county agency said.

In that statement, Arnold Randall, forest preserves general superintendent, said Memorial Day is a “time when we pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country” — but this year that tribute might look different.

“As an unofficial start to summer, the holiday is always one of our busiest weekends in the Forest Preserves,” Randall’s statement reads in part. “This year, that’s not a safe way to celebrate. We hope that with Memorial Day at Home, our patrons will find other creative ways to honor the fallen and to be with family.”

The forest preserves are urging people to order in from a local restaurant, “enjoy the natural world in your backyard or neighborhood” or post a photo of an “impressive or intriguing barbeque or family meal” on Instagram and tag the county’s forest preserve arm.