LIBERTYVILLE -- The Lake County Forest Preserves is asking preserve and trail visitors to spend the upcoming Memorial Day at Home.
Over the three-day holiday weekend, preserves are traditionally full of visitors having cookouts, picnics and family gatherings. This year, with health and safety guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Lake County Forest Preserves is urging people to make Memorial Day memorable at home.
“Memorial Day gives us an opportunity to honor and pay tribute to military members who have given their lives serving our country. As the unofficial start to summer, the holiday weekend is usually one of our busiest in the preserves, but it’s not a safe way to celebrate this year,” Executive Director Ty Kovach said in a news release.
"Because of COVID-19 concerns, picnics or cookouts, group sports and gatherings are not allowed in forest preserves at this time. Family members can enjoy the trails together," Kovach said. "And we would like to thank preserve visitors for helping with this effort, as the vast majority are adhering to social distancing rules and other public safety and health guidelines. It is important that visitors continue following these practices while using preserve trails. Visitor compliance is one reason we have been able to keep preserves open during this crisis."
This Memorial Day weekend, the Lake County Forest Preserves has teamed up with neighboring Forest Preserves of Cook County (@FPDCC) in promoting Memorial Day at Home activities as alternatives to a cookout or get-together in the forest preserves.
• Remember the reason for Memorial Day: Find a creative way to honor those who have given their lives while serving in the Armed Forces. This year, thanks can include our first responders and medical staff on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.
• Share your grill: Post a photo of your impressive or intriguing backyard barbecue or family meal -- or give us a glimpse of your famous family recipe. Tag the Lake County Forest Preserves on Instagram and we’ll share the best, @LCFPD.
• Order in from a local restaurant: Support your local economy in these difficult times and enjoy a meal from a favorite spot or a local restaurant you have never tried before.
• Connect with nature: Enjoy the natural world in your backyard or neighborhood. Browse all the education virtual offerings and register online. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @LCFPD or @FPDCC for more educational resources, webinars and videos.
Though most forest preserves and trails remain open from 6:30 am to sunset, public buildings and restrooms are closed and all in-person education programs, volunteer projects, and special events have been canceled or modified in response to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.
Before heading out, check the Lake County Forest Preserves website (LCFPD.org) for a complete list of closures and cancellations related to COVID-19. Ranger Police continue to closely monitor preserve and trail use to ensure safety rules, social distancing and other public health guidelines are being followed.
While the stay-at-home order has forced cancellation of all in-person education programs, virtual nature and history programs, summer camps, school field trips and digital resources for at-home learning are available. Join virtual wildflower walks, become a backyard birder, go on scavenger hunts, take part in citizen science projects, and view items from the Dunn Museum’s collections and archives. Check the Lake County Forest Preserves website at LCFPD.org for these and other virtual activities being offered, or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram @LCFPD.