The Forest Preserve District of Will County began selling 2019 dog park permits on Nov. 1.
Permits are good for the remainder of 2018 through Dec. 31, 2019. They can be bought online at reconnectwithnature.org or in person at three district visitor centers: Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville, Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township and Sugar Creek Administration Center in Joliet. Visitor center hours vary so check online before making a trip to buy a permit.
Dog park permits can be used at all five of the District’s off-leash dog parks, which are located in these five preserves: Forked Creek in Wesley Township, Hammel Woods in Shorewood, Messenger Marsh in Homer Glen, Lower Rock Run in Joliet and Whalon Lake in Naperville. A sixth dog park will be opening soon at Plum Valley Preserve in Crete Township.
Annual permits cost $40 for county residents and $80 for nonresidents. Additional fees are charged for multiple dogs up to a maximum of three dogs. Discounts are available for senior citizens, veterans and active duty military.
Annual dog park permits can be purchased from November through June. Half-year dog park permits are offered for half price from July through October.
Dogs must be six months old to use the dog parks. And owners must remain with their dogs and keep their dogs under control at all times. All of the dog park rules and requirements are available online on the district’s dog exercising page.
In addition, the Plum Valley Preserve – Burville Road Access, which includes the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s sixth off-leash dog park opened Nov. 9 in Crete Township.
The access area, located at the southeast corner of Burville Road and Route 394, includes a picnic pavilion that can accommodate up to 50 people, a 9-acre dog park and a latrine. The site, which will be open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset, provides the first access area for the 455-acre Plum Valley Preserve.
Plum Valley Dog Park features three enclosures: one for small dogs weighing 35 pounds or less, a second for large dogs and a third that is rotated into the mix as turf conditions require. Small dogs can go in the large-dog enclosure, but large dogs are prohibited from the small-dog enclosure for safety reasons. Dog parks are open year-round except for Christmas Day.
The Burville Road Access area opening was delayed after a state grant was suspended in 2015 and pavement failures in the original parking lot and entrance road were detected in 2017.
The access area also will eventually include a 1-mile section of the Plum Creek Greenway Trail. A bid was awarded for the work in September. The first 3.15-mile segment of the Plum Creek Greenway Trail opened in 2012 at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve in Crete Township.
In the future, the Forest Preserve would like to extend the trail section at Plum Valley and connect the path segments, perhaps via a street route.
For information, visit www.reconnectwithnature.org.