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- Fifteen centuries ago, melt-waters from the last Ice Age deposited vast amounts of sand along the Illinois River valley, which have since been sculpted into massive dunes. Following glaciation, there was a 1000 year drought and Southwestern species migrated in, including prickly pear cactus! The 7,500-acre Sand Ridge State Forest dunes are clothed with dry-mesic oak-hickory forest and pocked with Read more...