Marshall State Fish & Wildlife Area

Place Category: Commerce & Recreation, Ecology, Nature & Outdoor Recreation, Birding, and Nature Sites

  • Profile

    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. At 3,000 acres, the Marshall Unit is the largest, and houses primitive and full hook-up campsites, and a boat launch, along with the sites headquarters building. A 3.25-mile trail system that starts to the east of the headquarters building climbs through bluff and ravine hardwood forests home to woodpeckers and woodland warblers. The areas 1,642-acre Spring Branch Unit is located directly across the Illinois River from the Marshall Unit, and features a 6-acre picnic area, hiking trail, and canoe access. Several miles to the north of the Spring Branch Unit lies the 1,280-acre Sparland Unit, which is comprised mostly of open water, and hosts good numbers of ducks and geese. Each of the units features bluff/ravine and bottomland hardwood forests. Beyond birds, common forest mammals include fox, Gray and Flying squirrels, and White-tailed Deer. For those willing to rise early enough to visit the bottomland forests at dawn especially where they interface with water – Raccoons, muskrat, mink, and beaver can often be observed.

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