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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Friday, August 19
Bats at the Bridge
Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 6:30–8pm
A single Illinois bat can eat up to 3,000 insects each night! Join us to learn more about these ecologically important mammals and how white-nose syndrome is affecting their populations. After a short presentation indoors, we will head over to the Covered Bridge to look for the bats that roost there. $3 per person; children 2 and under FREE. Registration required; (217) 896-2455 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



Sunday, August 21
A Look at Water Resources: Mahomet Aquifer
Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 2-3:30pm
Learn "What and Who is the Mahomet Aquifer Consortium" - a water studies and education group organized in 1998—their mission and current programming. Questions will be answered as to why we should study water, in a holistic manner and relevant from international, national, and regional perspectives. FREE! For more info: (217) 586-2612 or

Remarkable Rodents
Friday, September 2

Natural Playscape, Homer Lake Forest Preserve, 10–11amTuesday, September 6

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 10–11am
This program is for preschoolers ages 2-6 to learn as we play in nature! What is a rodent? Learn the answer to this question as we study the similarities among mice, squirrels, and hamsters. This is a chance for parents/grandparents to actively engage with children as they experience the natural world. Dress for the weather, as we will be outdoors for the entire program. $5 per child. Register by August 30; (217) 896-2455 or

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.

Road repairs at Lake of the Woods are still underway. The road is closed past Elks Lake Pavilion to Izaak Walton Cabin.

Questions about this project can be directed to