permits & fees

The Forest Preserve District uses property-tax dollars to maintain an array of popular, heavily-used amenities from trails, parking lots and restrooms to benches, signs and drinking fountains — features used by a majority of its 4 million annual visitors. For facilities that go beyond the basics, the Board of Commissioners asks visitors who benefit from these special areas to pay user fees to help defray the added operational costs in an equitable, realistic manner.

Only a handful of forest preserve activities require permits or fees. For details, click on one of the activity names below.

Off-Leash Dog Areas

The Forest Preserve District offers off-leash fun at six preserves, but you need a permit for each dog you bring. You can have permits for as many of your dogs as you wish but can only have three dogs at an area at one time. To view a list of all the off-leash dog areas visit this page. To purchase a permit online click here.

Fees

DuPage resident: $40 per year for first dog, additional dogs $8 each/$8 per day, per dog
Nonresident: $150 per year for first dog, additional dogs $25 each/$20 per day, per dog

Reservable Picnic Areas

DuPage County forest preserves offer hundreds of picnic tables and inviting places to spread a blanket. Ground fires aren’t allowed, but you can bring a grill. (Most preserves have disposal bins for hot coals.) Remember, though, that alcohol is always prohibited. In addition, picnickers can reserve shelters and areas, rent canopies and grills, or set up private canopies at select sites for their exclusive use.

Click here to view a full list of reservable picnic areas and prices. Purchase a picnic permit online here or call Visitor Services at (630)933-7248 Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

Private Boating

You are allowed to use you own watercraft in a few of the District’s lakes, but you must carry a daily or annual private-boating permit which can be purchased here. You also need an Illinois water usage stamp or state registration, which can be purchased at sporting goods stores or at Visitor Services at 3S580 Naperville Road in Wheaton. Visit dnr.illinois.gov/boating for details on all state boating requirement.

Fees

DuPage resident: $35 per year or $7 per day
Nonresident: $45 per year or $9 per day

Fishing

Anglers can purchase Illinois sport fishing licenses, inland trout stamps and water usage stamps in person at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s headquarters office. These licenses are regulated and issued through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Valid sport fishing licenses are required for all anglers 16 or older who are not legally disabled when fishing on any public waters in Illinois, including lakes and rivers within DuPage County’s forest preserves. Inland trout stamps are required to take rainbow trout, which are stocked in spring and fall at three District lakes.

Fees

Illinois Resident: $15 annual per person
Non-Illinois Resident: $31.50 annual per person
Inland Trout Stamps: $6.50

Photography Permits

To take “for profit” photographs in a DuPage County forest preserve, you must have a valid still portrait photography permit in your possession. Still photography permits are available for purchase through Visitor Services or online here. Please allow three to five business days for processing.

Fees

DuPage resident: $150 per year or $45 per day
Nonresident: $200 per year or $65 per day

Model Crafts

If you enjoy navigating model planes or boats, the Forest Preserve District has the perfect area for you! Model-craft areas are located at six forest preserves. Operators must have valid Forest Preserve District permits in their possession when using any of these areas. To view a list of all the model craft areas visit this page. To purchase a permit online click here.

Fees

DuPage resident: $35 per year or $7 per day
Nonresident: $45 per year or $9 per day