Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Winnebago County Forest Preserve properties opening May 1

Staff Report

ROCKFORD – The Winnebago County Forest Preserve will open its gates on May 1 for limited daytime activities.

Forest preserve properties, including its three golf courses, will be open from 7 a.m. until a half-hour after sunset. These activities include walking, hiking, equestrian, golf and fishing, including at Four Lakes Forest Preserve as long s social distancing is practiced.

The golf courses, Atwood Homestead, Ledges and Macktown, will operate under the Golf Operational Restrictions set forth by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. That means the clubhouses will be closed. Tee times must be reserved over the phone or online and no carts will be allowed except for players with disabilities. There will be twosomes only; the practice green will be closed.

The forest preserve administration office, nature centers, playgrounds, shelter reservations, fly field and restrooms will also remain closed.

“Every visitor plays a critical role in practicing safe social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the forest preserve said in a release.

Officials encourage visitors to carry alcohol‐based hand sanitizer and remind everyone to wear face coverings, which are mandatory per the extension of the stay-at-home order. .

Additional health and safety guidelines include:
• Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet of distance between yourself and others.
• Stay at home if you are sick or feeling any symptoms, such as fever, coughing, troubled breathing, and/or other flu-like symptoms.
• Visit alone or with members of your household.
• Stay local. Visit preserves that are closest to where you live.
• If you arrive at a preserve and crowds are forming, please move to another area or return another time.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow.

Forest preserve officials say they will closely monitor the situation for congestion and will close properties if social-distancing is not followed.

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