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All Ecology

  • Anderson Lake State Conservation Area

    Once a private duck-hunting club, the 2,247-acre Anderson Lake and adjacent 230-acre Carlson Lake were purchased by the state in 1947 and put under the auspices of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. These lakes are floodplain lakes, receiving overflow from the nearby Illinois River during flood periods. The complex Read more [...]

  • Big Creek Park

    Big Creek Park was the first property purchased by the Canton Park District for park development. A scenic drive winds through the park’s gently rolling, oak-hickory-maple forest, an island amid the adjacent urban thoroughfares. Using your car as a birding blind, you can drive the scenic route that winds through Read more [...]

  • Bradley Park

    Established in the late 19th century, the 140-acre Bradley Park is the centerpiece of Peoria’s University District. Operated by the Peoria Park District, this large park, located adjacent to Bradley University, traverses a high bluff woodland that grades down into the floodplain of Dry Run Creek. Along with numerous picnic Read more [...]

  • Buffalo Rock State Park

    So named because (legend has it) the area once served as a “blind canyon” where Indians ran buffalo for capture, this 298-acre park has long been a natural favorite. Much of Buffalo Rock State Park is set high atop sandstone bluff carved by the young Illinois River just after the Read more [...]

  • Camp Wokanda

    Camp Wokanda, acquired from W.D. Boyce Council of the Boy Scouts of America, offers a beautiful 316-acre woodland setting, including a lake for fishing. The camp, with dining hall, sleeping cabins, program buildings and tent camping, offers a variety of naturalist tours, environmental education, and rental options to groups interested Read more [...]

  • Catlin County Park

    Acquired in 1970 by the LaSalle County Conservation District, the 333-acre Catlin Park (open May-October) is a mix of bluff land oak-hickory forest, chinquapin oak savanna, maple-basswood dominated steep ravines, and tallgrass prairie habitats. Cottonwood, sycamore, and hackberry dominate the bottomland forests. Ash, basswood, and black cherry dot the landscape. Read more [...]

  • Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge

    Owned and operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, this 4,480-acre site contains elements of several habitats: Oak-hickory forest, riparian forest, floodplain shrub, marsh, and open lake. Note the prairie plant display garden at the refuge headquarters. Although known primarily for its waterfowl, Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge also attracts Read more [...]

  • Detweiller Park

    Peoria Park District’s 740-acre Detweiller Park is a popular multi-use destination for folks who enjoy golfing, soccer, volleyball, hiking, birding, fishing, and boating. Detweiller Drive, which runs through much of the park, features one of the finest, most diverse collections of oaks; and the early spring show of blooming redbuds Read more [...]

  • Dickson Mounds Museum

    One of the major on-site archeological museums in the country, Dickson Mounds Museum also interprets the ecology of the Illinois River’s Emiquon region. The site itself lies where two major ecosystems meet: The Upper Mississippi River-Illinois River Bottomlands, and the Western Forest-Prairie complex. Turning onto the museum’s entry road, it’s Read more [...]

  • Dirksen Park

    This 459-acre site is comprised of oak-hickory forest and open shrubland. Running Deer Trail, an extensive hiking/mountain biking/cross country trail, runs through the park, crossing several cobble-bottomed brooks and creeks. In 2003, Dirksen Park along with McNaughton Park, were entered into the Illinois Land and Water Reserve Program, designed to Read more [...]

  • East Peoria Riverfront Greenway

    East Peoria’s Riverfront Greenway project is a 1.8-mile walking/hiking trail along the east bank of the Illinois River. Beginning at EastPort Public Boat Ramp, the trail runs through Cooper Park and terminates at Spindler Marina and Campground. This trail project is congruent with Fon du Lac Park District’s planned second Read more [...]

  • East Peoria Riverfront Park

    This eight-acre park located along the Illinois River in downtown East Peoria features a hiking/biking trail and decorative lighting. It’s a great place for visitors desiring an up-close view of the Illinois River, those who wish to view river nature in an urbanized setting, and individuals who simply wish to Read more [...]

  • Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge

    Emiquon Refuge was established in 1993 to restore and protect wetland habitats at the confluence of the Illinois and Spoon rivers and help fulfill international obligations contained in various migratory bird treaties and conventions. The first tract was purchased on December 29, 1993. The refuge has since grown to approximately Read more [...]

  • Forest Park Nature Center

    Seven miles of hiking trails traverse bluff forestland and a restored prairie through this designated state nature preserve. Over 100 woodland bird species use the park as migrants, winter visitors or year-round inhabitants. Hikers often encounter the resident Wild Turkeys or hear Barred Owls calling in the distance. The nature Read more [...]

  • Fort Crevecoeur Park

    Fort Crevecoeur Park commemorates French explorer Robert Rene Cavalier de LaSalle’s presence here on the east bank of the Illinois River in 1680. The fort was built to protect the Illini Indians from the aggressive Iroquois Nation. The 86.6-acre park was deeded to the village of Creve Coeur in 1976 Read more [...]

  • Fulton County Camping & Recreation Area

    Located between Lewistown and the community of St. David, the 440-acre Fulton County Camping and Recreation Area includes 150 cumulative acres of surface water spread throughout a myriad of ponds, sloughs, and lakes. The site is managed by Fulton County for recreational use, which includes camping, fishing, and hiking. The Read more [...]

  • Havana Riverfront Park

    Bordered by the east bank of the Illinois River this linear park possesses an ample walking trail shaded by the park’s large riparian trees. On the park’s bluff (at the terminus of Main Street) is an observation deck and raised boardwalk nestled in a grove of American elm, red maple, Read more [...]

  • Illini State Park

    Located across the Illinois River from the town of Marseilles, the 510-acre Illini State Park lies along the northern edge of the “Great Falls” of the river, where a drop in streambed gradient creates beautiful roaring rapids. The park itself sits atop an old glacial moraine (elongated ridge-type hill bulldozed Read more [...]

  • Illinois Waterway Visitors Center

    Located at the Starved Rock Lock & Dam, the Illinois Waterway Visitors Center is owned and operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps maintains the lock and dam system along the entire Illinois Waterway from Lake Michigan to Grafton, IL where the Illinois River empties into the Read more [...]

  • Independence Park

    Once used as a proving ground for Caterpillar Inc., this 340-acre site is a model for ecological restoration. Plantings of trees, prairie grasses and forbs are maturing beautifully. One positive indicator of ecological progress is the presence of breeding Acadian Flycatcher, a neotropical songbird that prefers a closed-canopy forests. The Read more [...]

  • Jake Wolf Memorial Fish Hatchery

    Named after Jacob John Wolf, 7-term Illinois General Assembly member and past Deputy Director of the Department of Conservation, this unique facility is comprised of a 36,000-square-foot hatchery building, 56 indoor rearing tanks, 41 outdoor raceways, 12 rearing ponds, and a 22-acre solar-heating pond. The hatchery’s Visitor’s Center contains several Read more [...]

  • Jubilee College State Park

    Jubilee College State Park is a 3,200-acre facility situated in the Illinoisan drift-plan, replete with rolling topography and the meandering Jubilee Creek. Visitors may see deer, rabbits, squirrel, fox, coyote and raccoon throughout the forests, while the creek may offer glimpses of mink, muskrat and beaver or one of over Read more [...]

  • Lakeland Park

    Measuring nearly 600 acres in size, Canton’s Lakeland Park is a prime example of the possibilities involved in restoring ecological integrity to strip mining sites. Much of the park’s terrain is tallgrass prairie habitat. In those sections which have been allowed to restore themselves, grassland birds such as meadowlark, sparrows, Read more [...]

  • Luthy Botanical Gardens

    Designed by the legendary gardener Oscar F. Dubuis and dedicated in 1896, Glen Oak Park is the focal point of northeastern Peoria and home to the Peoria Park District headquarters. Today, the park hosts daily visitors to its Glen Oak Zoo, Luthy Botanical Garden and various special events. Visitors can Read more [...]

  • Marshall State Fish & Wildlife Area

    Initiated in 1925, the Marshall State Fish & Wildlife Area presently includes about 6,000 acres spread over 3 different units along 10 miles of Illinois River shoreline. All three sites are worth a stop if touring the river for spring and fall migrations of waterfowl or shorebirds and wintering eagles. Read more [...]

  • Mason State Tree Nursery

    Owned and operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, this 240-acre site is dedicated to raising native tree, shrub, grass, and wildflower stock to be used in both public and private habitat restoration projects. The majority of annual nursery stock distribution here goes to private Illinois landowners who possess Read more [...]

  • Matthiessen State Park

    Donated to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources by the F.W. Matthiessen family in 1943, Matthiessen State Park is comprised of nearly 2,000 acres of prairies, bluff and deep ravine forests, as well as sandstone canyons (called “dells” by Matthiessen) cut by the still-rushing Vermilion River. The ground water which Read more [...]

  • Mautino State Fish & Wildlife Area

    Approaching 900 acres in size, Mautino State Fish & Wildlife Area is comprised of a restored strip mine which has attracted a vibrant community of plants and animals to its forests, lakes, and grasslands. Over a dozen lakes ranging in size from 0.5-15.5 acres dot the landscape. Dragonfly enthusiasts should Read more [...]

  • McCune Sand Prairie

    This 200-acre rare prairie type was donated to the Natural Resources Conservation Service Bureau County District by Mr. and Mrs. J.D. McCune (120-acres) and the University of Illinois (80-acres). Due to the exceptionally sandy soil composition, sand prairies are exceedingly well-drained and are therefore even drier than typical Midwestern tallgrass Read more [...]

  • McNaughton Park

    McNaughton Park’s 850 acres contain some of the most impressive specimens of white oak in the entire Illinois River Valley. This mix of oak savanna and old growth forests is also a great spot for songbirds, butterflies, and wildflowers. Common birds, like Eastern Bluebird and American Goldfinch are often seen Read more [...]

  • Mendenhall Park Wetland Area

    A pleasant surprise located just off the byway, Mendenhall consists of a complex of wetland pools separated by groves of bottomland hardwood, such as willow, maple and elm trees, and emergent vegetation in and around the pools. Red-shouldered Hawks, White-breasted Nuthatches and Blue Jays are seen frequently. The entry road Read more [...]

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