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Van Patten Woods Forest Preserve

An oak forest, 86-acre Sterling Lake and the Des Plaines River provide a picturesque backdrop for a variety of outdoor recreation activities at this preserve.

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About Van Patten Woods Forest Preserve

Van Patten Woods was Lake County’s first forest preserve, created in 1961. The key natural feature here is the river and its adjacent floodplain, which serve as a refuge to many native species while providing flood control to Lake County residents. On higher ground to the river’s east, you can relax among native oak woodlands and planted pine groves. To the west, natural areas are being restored where the former gravel quarry had severely altered the land. A rustic campground that can be reserved for organized youth groups of up to 60 is located on the preserve’s northern end

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