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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50 in 50 Campaign
Help Build the Next Phase of the Kickapoo Rail Trail!

The 50-Day Campaign is here. Every dollar raised leverages $4 in Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant funds. Donate now or start a peer-to-peer page and include your network of friends in our goal. Let's keep the momentum going!

50 days x $1,000 a day = SUCCESS!

Lincoln Lecture Series: Unrestrained by Parental Tyranny: The Lincolns and their Boys
Sunday, October 23
Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 2pm
While Abraham and Mary Lincoln came from different worlds, they shared the misfortune of enduring unhappy childhoods. As parents, they were determined that their children would have a much different experience. Dr. Samuel Wheeler, research historian for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL will discuss the Lincolns as parents and detail the often overlooked lives of their boys: Robert, Eddy, Willie, and Tad. FREE! For more info: or (217) 586-2612.

Landscaptes in the Fall: An Introductory "Plein Air" Watercolor Class
Sunday, October 23
Salt Fork Center, Homer Lake Forest Preserve, 1-3pm
Following in the traditions of renowned painters such as Van Gogh and Monet, this class will offer the opportunity to capture the live beauty of the colorful fall landscape of Homer Lake. Instruction in basic watercolor techniques and tricks of the trade for Plein Air (outdoor) painting will be included in this course. If you have your own watercolor materials, feel FREE! to bring them. Basic materials will also be provided. Register by Oct 15; $22 per person. For more info:, or (217) 586-2612. For ages 15 and up.

Haunted Hike   
Sunday, October 23
River Bend Forest Preserve, Mahomet, 6-7:30pm
Halloween is almost here, so get in the spooky spirit by coming on a Haunted Hike! We will use the light of the quarter moon to navigate River Bend. We won’t find werewolves or vampires, but we might hear some coyotes or see bats fly overhead! This program is perfect for families of all ages. Dress for the weather, but costumes are encouraged! $3 per person. Registration required: (217) 896-2455 or

Silly Snakes
Tuesday, November 1
Growing Up Wild

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 1011am
Friday, November 4
Nature Play PreK
Natural Playscape, Homer Lake Forest Preserve, 1011am
This program is for preschoolers age 2-6 to learn as we play in nature! We’ll learn about how snakes live and move, and get to see one up close! 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: October 28; (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.

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