museum grand prairie middle fork campground homer lake interpretive lake of the woods golf kickapoo rail trail

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Mission Statement
We conserve, preserve and restore natural areas,
We provide cultural, historical and environmental opportunities,
We provide compatible outdoor recreation experiences.

Phone: (217) 586-3360 | Fax: (217) 586-5724 | Email:


Online Registration and Reservations

We are excited to offer online registration and facilities reservations! Live by your schedule, not ours. Sign up for an activity, and reserve facilities, all from your computer or mobile device at any time of the day or night – whenever it is convenient for you.

Check it out here!
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Fall Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, October 1
Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 10–11:30am
Fall into this fun activity! We will be doing a Scavenger Hunt through the Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden looking for signs of autumn. Participants will also learn about simple and compound leaves, identify various trees and take a guided tour of the area. $3 per child. Registration required; (217) 586-2612 or
Families with PreK – 5th grade kids

River to Rail Ride 2016
Saturday, September 24
Middle Fork River Forest Preserve

Online Registration is now closed for this year's ride. Onsite registration runs from 7:30-10 a.m. on Saturday at the Activity Center in Middle Fork River Forest Preserve. Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. outside the Activity Center. Lunch is free with a paid registration. Day of Registration is $40. Register by Sunday, September 11 to receive a ride t-shirt.

Botanical Illustration
for Beginners
Saturday, September 24
Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 1-3pm
Plants are our diverse and ever-present companions. We eat them, breathe with them, wear them and admire them. What better way to become familiar with these beautiful and varied heliophytes (sun-loving plants) than to learn to draw and paint them? This introduction to botanical illustration will show you a number of techniques for drawing and painting plants in a realistic style. Come prepared to spend some of your time outside for sketching. Some supplies included with registration! For ages 15 and up. $18 per person. Registration required by Sept 17; (217) 586-2612 or


Reserve a Campsite Now!
The Harry L. Swartz Campground at Middle Fork River Forest Preserve is open for the 2016 season! Campground consists of 65 campsites that can accommodate individuals as well as larger groups. Fifty-three of the sites have electricity. Each campsite is a quiet retreat shaded by large oak, hickory and hackberry trees. Wildflowers grow in abundance. Campsites are available per night on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are allowed for stays of at least three consecutive nights.

Make a reservation

Construction Updates
The District is making improvements over the next several months to the boat launch and boardwalk area between Walnut Hill and the Natural Playscape at Homer Lake Forest Preserve. To ensure the safety of visitors the main parking lot will be closed during this time. The overflow parking directly north will be open for visitors.

Questions about this project can be directed to