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SSMMA escapes to the great outdoors at new Forest Preserves camp ground

The South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association hosted an open house and tour June 2 at Camp Sullivan, located at 147th Street and Oak Park Avenue in Oak Forest.

The Forest Preserve District of Cook County opened up its gates for public camping in 2015 for the first time in 50 years (see story here), and General Superintendent Arnold Randall personally invited association members out to the newly renovated facilities. Other south suburban camp sites include Camp Bullfrog Lake in Willow Springs and Camp Shabbona Woods in South Holland.

SSMMA toured the facilities and campground, hiked the trails and climbed the rock wall in the newly renovated iconic red barn, where members quickly learned that one of the hardest things about rock-climbing was trusting the safety harnesses to get you back down safely. We thank Richton Park Mayor Rick Reinbold for his brave demonstration (see video here). The barn also houses the campground’s main office and activity center for various programs and events.

They enjoyed a picnic dinner and refreshments, got an immersive nature experience and congregated at one of the camp’s bunkhouses. There, nightly rates are very reasonable for a structure which sleeps up to 36 and includes a kitchen, dining area and two bathrooms with showers. Gear is also available for rent or purchase, if needed. Check-out the “instant camper” gear rental packages here.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County provides organized camping opportunities for groups up to 60. Perfect for youth organizations, corporate team building, retreats and other special events, their campgrounds offer a different mix of accommodations including group tent campsites, clusters of cabins and bunkhouses, along with large fields, dining halls and picnic shelters. Click here for reservation options, fees, rules, gear rental and other information. More photos are here.

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