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Forest Preserve Dog Parks
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Dogs in the Preserves

Dogs are permitted at forest preserves but are prohibited at designated State Nature Preserves unless otherwise posted.

Five preserves also provide dog parks for off-leash dog exercising. These dog parks feature fenced areas where owners can let their dogs run free. A Forest Preserve District of Will County permit is required to use the parks. The District offers dog parks at the following Will County forest preserve locations:

Forked Creek Preserve - Ballou Road Access in Wilmington (9 acres, including a separate 3-acre park for dogs under 35 lbs.)

Hammel Woods - DuPage River Access in Shorewood (8.5 acres)

Lower Rock Run Preserve - McClintock Road Access (7.5 acres, including a separate 2.5-acre park for dogs under 35 lbs.)

Messenger Marsh in Homer Glen
(7 acres, including a separate 1.1-acre park for dogs under 35 lbs.)

Whalon Lake in Naperville
(11.9 acres, including a separate 1.9-acre park for dogs under 35 lbs.)

Dog Park Permits

A dog park permit is required in order to use the dog parks, and an ID lanyard must be displayed during dog park use.

Permit Type
Will County Residents Fee
Non-Residents Fee
One Dog
Two Dogs
Three Dogs
One Dog
Two Dogs
Three Dogs
Annual (Issued November-June)
Annual (Senior Citizen*)
Half-Year (Issued Beginning July 1)
Half-Year (Senior Citizen*)

*The Senior Citizen fee applies to ages 65 years or older.

Annual permits to the dog parks are available for purchase from November 1 through June 30. Half-year permits are available for purchase July 1 through October 31.

Annual and half-year permits are valid for the calendar year. Permits for 2017 will expire December 31, 2017.

An applicant can register up to three dogs maximum. The applicant must provide a current rabies tag number and expiration date for each dog. Applicants will receive a permit and ID lanyard to wear while visiting the park.

An annual, half-year, or daily dog park permit may be purchased by visiting the Sugar Creek Administration Center in Joliet, Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville, Monee Reservoir Visitor Center in Monee, or Plum Creek Nature Center in Beecher. 

Permits may also be purchased by downloading the Dog Park Permit Application and mailing it with fee to the Sugar Creek Administration Center.

Dog Park Regulations

Girl With Dog at Dog ParkDog park permit holders are subject to all rules and regulations contained in General Use Ordinance No. 124, the Illinois Criminal Code, the Illinois Vehicle Code, and the Illinois Game and Fish Codes.  Falsification of information or violation of any rules, regulations or ordinances of the District will result in the denial and/or revocation of this permit, forfeiture of fees, fines, and/or closing of the event.

Entry into the dog park without the appropriate permit is an Ordinance violation and will result in a fine and removal from the park.

Permit holders are required to wear the ID lanyard when in the dog park.  Failure to do so may result in permit revocation and removal from the park. Photo reproduction of passes will not be accepted.

All dog park permits expire at the end of the calendar year (Dec. 31, 2017).

Permit holders may have no more than three dogs in the dog park at one time.

All dogs present must be registered with the District and listed on the permit.

It is the responsibility of the permit holder to notify the District with updated rabies tag number and expiration date information.

Dogs must display a current rabies tag.

Permit holders who foster dogs must notify the District if the dog associated with their permit changes.

This permit is not transferable. Any attempted transference or attendance violation will void the dog park permit and subject the holder to fines, penalties, and loss of fees.

No alcohol consumption is allowed while in the dog park.

Permit holders must clean up after their dogs in both the dog park and the preserve. This includes any waste as well as water bowls and any dog toys.

Dogs are not permitted to wade or swim in Whalon Lake.

Puppies younger than 6 months of age are prohibited. Care should be used when introducing puppies to the dog park.

Leave dogs that are unhealthy or in heat at home.

Small dog treats for training purposes are permitted; please refrain from bringing other food or treat items to the dog park.

Dogs must be leashed when entering and exiting the dog park. Dogs in a preserve must be leashed if they are outside of the dog park area. Leashes in excess of 10 feet are not allowed.

Owners must remain with their dogs inside the fenced dog park and keep their dogs under control at all times. You must remove your dog immediately from the dog park at the first sign of aggressive behavior. Dogs are not allowed to disturb, harass, or interfere with wildlife or other visitors.

The District reserves the right to close the preserves and/or limit access within preserves during regular open hours when safety and/or weather conditions warrant such actions.

Permits are issued to adults (18 years or older) only and the permit holder must be present with their dog in the park.

Requests for refunds must be made in writing to the District.  Refunds will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with administrative guidelines.

In an emergency, call 911.

For Police non-emergency, call 815.727.6191.

The District assumes no liability for any injuries that occur as a result of your activity.

Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult and not left unattended at the dog park.

No signs of solicitation are allowed to be posted in the preserve.

Replacement or duplicate ID lanyards may be purchased for a $2 fee. No more than one duplicate ID lanyard will be issued per permit.

Additional regulations apply. For more information, download the District's General Use Ordinance No. 124 or call 815.727.8700. All state, county, local, and District ordinances will be enforced.
Dogs in Dog Park
Photographs Courtesy of Ron Molk and Adam Plecker
Forked Creek Preserve - Ballou Road Access is located on Ballou Road, east of Route 102 in Wilmington. (Google Map It!)

Hammel Woods - DuPage River Access is located on Black Road, west of I-55 in Shorewood. (Google Map It!)

Lower Rock Run Preserve - McClintock Road Access is located on McClintock Road, just northwest of Route 6 in Joliet. (Google Map It!)

Messenger Marsh is located on South Bell Road, south of Route 7/159th Street in Homer Glen. (Google Map It!)

Whalon Lake is located on Royce Road, west of Route 53/Bolingbrook Drive in Naperville. (Google Map It!)
For Information
Forked Creek Preserve: 8 a.m.-Sunset

Hammel Woods: 8 a.m.-Sunset

Lower Rock Run Preserve: 8 a.m.-Sunset

Messenger Marsh: 8 a.m-Sunset

Whalon Lake: 6 a.m.-Sunset (April-October)
8 a.m.-Sunset (November-March)
Maps & Brochures
Dog Park Permit Application
Forked Creek Preserve - Ballou Road Access Map
Hammel Woods Preserve Map
Lower Rock Run Preserve Map
Messenger Marsh Preserve Map
Whalon Lake Preserve Map
View All Preserves
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17540 W. Laraway Road, Joliet, IL 60433
815.727.8700 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Weekdays
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