Special Use Permits

shelter/Picnic Reservation FAQ  

Overview and Fees

Special Request Permits are required to use Conservation Areas for a one-time event or recurring dates, including but not limited to sporting events, track meets, large picnics, walkathons, bike events, etc.  Special Request Permits are required for any activity or gathering that is beyond the exclusive use of just a shelter or campground.  This also includes self-guided groups of 16 or more people who are not reserving a shelter or campground, but may be utilizing the trails or open areas with a large group.

When considering a special request please note: Special Request Permits must be requested no less than 30 days prior to the event and all related fees and paperwork are due within 2 weeks of making the reservation, and no less than 10 business days prior to the event. Contact Brookdale Administrative Offices at (815) 338-6223, ext. 1211 for other special procedures.
COVID Protocols: Groups will have to supply written procedures on how event organizers will comply with the State of Illinois Restore Illinois Guidelines for COVID-19.  It is understood that these guidelines may be amended or updated from time to time.

Fees include: Application Fee + Basic Permit + Impact Fee

Application Fee:
There is a $25 Non-Refundable Application Fee for all Special Request Permits. If approved, the application fee is applied toward the overall fee.

Impact Fee: Based on the number of people in attendance, an impact fee will be charged accordingly:
1-50 people: $25
51-100 people: $50
100-150 people: $75
151-500 people: $250 
501-1,000 people: $500
1,001-1,500 people: $750
The District reserves the right to assess additional fees based on the degree of impact to other site users, the site’s natural resources, and the staff time and services required to ensure a safe activity/event.

Tent Fees:  Any tent requiring professional set up and/or the use of large stages, ropes, barrels or sandbags for weights will incur additional fees:
Less than 200 sf:  $25     
200-599 sf: $50    
600-1,199 sf: $100   
1,200 – 1,800 sf: $200

Trails/Conservation Area Use
Permits are required for all groups requesting use of a site, with or without a picnic area/shelter, that will be hosting 16 or more people for any gathering or activity. These permits must be requested at least 10 days in advance by contacting Brookdale Administrative Offices at 815-338-6223, ext. 1211.

Special Request: Stargazing / Night Sky Viewing
Viewing the night sky in more rural areas where darker skies are more prevalent can be an enjoyable experience. Night Sky viewing is allowed from the front parking lots at select sites by permit only. Learn more.