Rules & Regulations

Important information to help you enjoy your park experience

The following rules have been adopted to assure enjoyment of the park by you and other visitors. Help preserve the park's natural areas and that of its inhabitants.

Gate Fee

There is a gate fee collected at Lake Etta, Three Rivers, Oak Ridge Prairie, Lemon Lake, and Stoney Run when a gatekeeper is on duty. This fee is separate from the shelter rental. Please make certain all members of your group are aware of the gate fee in advance of their visit. Fees help keep the parks open.

Park Hours

The parks are open from 7 a.m. until sunset. Sunset varies throughout the year. Shelter rentals are reserved from 10 a.m. until sunset.

Shelter Rental

If shelters are not reserved they are available on a first come, first serve basis. Reserved shelters may not be used by any one other than the person or group who have paid the reservation fee. Shelter rentals are intended to serve as a gathering for family, friends and organizations. Special events, fund-raisers, and events promoted to the public require special permission from the park board. Your shelter rental includes the shelter number listed on your reservation form and the surrounding 50 feet outside that shelter, plus the tables in the shelter. It is important that you rent facilities that will accommodate the number in your group. Additional tables and garbage cans will not be moved, as they are for other park visitors. Do not assume that unoccupied picnic shelters are not reserved. Check with the gatekeeper or on-site park personnel about availability.

Damage Clean Up Deposit

A deposit may be collected when the reservation is made. It will be returned following your reservation if the park site is acceptable to the park manager and no unreasonable damage is incurred. If a credit card is used for the deposit, the charge will be removed from your account.


Due to the close proximity of other shelters and picnic areas, amplified music, microphones, loudspeakers, starter pistols, musical instruments are not permitted. Please respect the privacy of other park visitors.


Consumption of beer and wine (no kegs without special permit open to caterers) is limited to picnic areas with meals and is prohibited on trails, roadways, parking lots, beaches, other aquatic areas, and open play areas. Other alcohol is not permitted in the parks. The park is for the enjoyment of all, so proper behavior must be observed. The sale of beer is prohibited without a special permit from the Park Board and appropriate permits from the State of Indiana.

Large Groups

For large picnic groups (more than 200 people) when alcohol will be consumed, a security officer, who shall be obtained by the Lake County Parks Department at the expense of the person(s) making the reservation, is required. Additional security officers are required for each additional 200 people.


Soliciting, peddling, collecting fees, fund-raising or the sale of items, merchandise or food is not allowed on park property without an official permit.


Fires are permitted only in established grills or privately owned grills. Never place portable grills or stoves on picnic tables. Completely extinguish your charcoal prior to disposal. Use hot charcoal containers where available. Do not dump coals on the ground. Fires must be continuously attended under the care and direction of a competent person. No fire shall be built within ten feet of any tree or building, or beneath the branches of any trees or in underbrush. Deep Fryers are not permitted.


Due to fire and other safety hazards, fireworks of any kind on park grounds are strictly forbidden.


Recreational awnings, tents, generators or other additional equipment requires prior approval of the park department. No moonwalks, dunk tanks, etc.


For safety reasons, motorists are to observe speed limits as posted. Vehicles are allowed only on roadways and in parking areas. Vehicles are not allowed on the grass or brick walkways.


The gathering of living or non-living plant material for firewood or other purposes is not allowed. Due to the environmental damage that can result from the use of certain chemicals in insecticides, no spraying or fogging is allowed. The removal of artifacts is prohibited. The use of metal detectors are not permitted on LCPRD grounds.


The hitting of golf balls (other than on the golf courses) or any projectile, archery, engine powered model airplanes, boats, and cars or drones are not allowed. The use of firearms of any type is not permitted except in regulated areas such as at GKM.

Water Safety

Swimming and the use of water craft are not permitted except in designated areas. Swimming is allowed only when lifeguards are on duty.


Hunting (except in areas designated for such purposes) or trapping any wild bird or animal is prohibited. Help preserve the park’s natural areas and that of its inhabitants.

Safety Rules on Beaches and Deep River Waterpark

The following are prohibited: Alcoholic beverages, glass containers, flotation devices, horseplay, fires or grills, unsupervised children, pets, swimming in non-designated areas, vehicles on the beach, swimming when lifeguards are not on duty, swimming past chest-deep water at beaches, tampering with lifeguard equipment.

Recycling & Clean Up

Your use of trash receptacles helps keep the environment clean. Please lend a hand in keeping the park beautiful and ready for the next visitor.


Pets shall be on a leash not more than six feet in length and under the owner’s control at all times. Owners are responsible for cleanup after their pets. Please be aware that many people are fearful of dogs. Pets are not allowed at aquatic operations, including the beaches, Deep River Waterpark, at special events, or at Gibson Woods Nature Preserve.

The shelters near Dogwood Run at Lemon Lake are available for rent for groups with dogs. However dogs must be leashed unless they are in Dogwood Run. Users of Dogwood Run must follow all procedures. Please note: In 2007 the Lake County Sheriff’s Department instituted an ordinance requiring pit bulls and pit bull breeds to be muzzled, secured on a leash no longer than 4 feet, and in a walking harness. Therefore, Pit Bull breeds are not allowed in Dogwood Run.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is allowed ONLY on designated trails on the Grand Kankakee Marsh levee trails (except during hunting season), Stoney Run perimeter trail, Buckley Homestead, and Deep River County Park where parking is available at the County Line Road entrance (horses are NOT allowed in the Visitor Center, Grist Mill, Gazebo, or picnic areas).

Lake County Parks Refund & Cancellation Policy

Parties reserving shelters, who notify the business office no later than ten (10) working days in advance of their reservation, may obtain a full refund or reschedule another date at no additional cost. No refund will be given if notification is received by the business office less than ten (10) days.

If you have questions regarding your reservation or any questions about the Lake County Parks prior to your visit, please call the business office at 219-769-7275. If you have questions or problems the day of your outing, we encourage you to contact any of the park staff at the park.

Receipts from admission and service charges are used to defray the operation and maintenance costs of the Lake County Parks.