|Map of Protected Areas of Illinois|
Each dot is linked to the corresponding article:
Parks; Forests; Recreation Areas;
Fish and Wildlife Areas; Natural Areas;
National Historic Sites and Trails
Illinois has a variety of protected areas, including 123 state protected areas - state parks, wildlife areas, recreation areas, nature reserves, and state forests. There are also federal and local level protected areas in the state. These levels interact to provide a variety of recreation opportunities and conservation schemes, sometimes in a small area. For instance, 1,500-acre (6.1 km2) Shabbona Lake State Park lies in DeKalb County which has its own 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) forest preserve system, while the City of DeKalb has a 700-acre (2.8 km2) park system.
Illinois has a wide variety of state owned and administered protected areas: state parks, state forests, state recreation areas, state fish and wildlife areas, state natural areas, and one state trail. They are all administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. In addition, several of the state historic sites, administered by its Illinois Historic Preservation Division, also include nature reserves.
There is also a national forest, Shawnee National Forest, a national grassland, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, and several other sites administered by the National Park Service, including portions of National Trails. There are also National Wildlife Refuges.
Federal protected areasEdit
U.S. Wilderness AreasEdit
- Bald Knob Wilderness
- Bay Creek Wilderness
- Burden Falls Wilderness
- Clear Springs Wilderness
- Crab Orchard Wilderness
- Garden of the Gods Wilderness
- Lusk Creek Wilderness
- Panther Den Wilderness
National Forest ServiceEdit
- Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie - 19,454 acres (78.73 km2)
- Shawnee National Forest - 500,000 acres (2,000 km2)
United States Fish and Wildlife ServiceEdit
- Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge
- Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge - 43,500 acres (176 km2) including the 4,050-acre (16.4 km2) Crab Orchard Wilderness
- Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge
- Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge
- Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge
- Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge Complex
- Meredosia National Wildlife Refuge
- Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge
- Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge
National Park ServiceEdit
There are no national parks in Illinois but the Parks Service operates the federally owned 12-acre (49,000 m2) Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois and the Pullman National Monument in Chicago. The Chicago Portage National Historic Site is a NPS-affiliated site which is located in the Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s Portage Woods and Ottawa Trail Woods units. In addition, the NPS partners in the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.
U.S. Army Corps of EngineersEdit
- Carlyle Lake - 26,000 acres (110 km2) of water and 11,000 acres (45 km2) of public land
- Illinois Waterway
- Lake Shelbyville - 11,100-acre (45 km2) lake and 23,000 acres (93 km2) of land
- Rend Lake - 18,900 acres (76 km2) of water and 20,000 acres (81 km2) of land
Wetlands (Ramsar Convention)Edit
- Cache River-Cypress Creek Wetlands
- Chiwaukee Prairie Illinois Beach Lake Plain (shared with Wisconsin)
- The Emiquon Complex
- Dixon Waterfowl Refuge
- Upper Mississippi (shared with Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin)
Current state parksEdit
Around 50 usually smaller sites concerning historic structures are owned by the state and administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Division, some of which may have a nature preservation component, including the Cahokia World Heritage Site and Lincoln's New Salem.
Local level parksEdit
A variety of county and town protected areas exist in Illinois, including city park districts and county-wide Forest Preserve Districts, as well as land owned by private organizations. One of the largest systems is the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, which includes Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden as well as 70,000 acres (280 km2) of open land, or 11.6 percent of Cook County’s land area. Most counties lack a public landholding agency, but below are the landholdings of such districts in Illinois:
- Boone County Conservation District - 4,000 acres (16 km2)
- Byron Forest Preserve District - 1,708 acres (6.91 km2)
- Champaign County Forest Preserve District - 4,000 acres (16 km2)
- Forest Preserve District of Cook County - 70,000 acres (280 km2)
- DeKalb County Forest Preserve - 4,000 acres (16 km2)
- Forest Preserve District of DuPage County - 26,000 acres (110 km2)
- Forest Preserve District of Kane County - 20,000 acres (81 km2)
- Forest Preserves of the Kankakee River Valley - 465 acres (1.88 km2)
- Kendall County Forest Preserve District - 2,663 acres (10.78 km2)
- Lake County Forest Preserve - 31,000 acres (130 km2)
- Macon County Conservation District - 3,490 acres (14.1 km2)
- McHenry County Conservation District - 24,000 acres (97 km2)
- Putnam Country Conservation District - 1,100-acre (4.5 km2)
- Rock Island Forest Preserve District - 2,529 acres (10.23 km2)
- Vermilion County Conservation District - 6,600 acres (27 km2)
- Forest Preserve District of Will County - 21,966 acres (88.89 km2)
- Winnebago County Forest Preserve District - 11,500 acres (47 km2)
- "The Annotated Ramsar List: United States of America" (PDF). Ramsar.org. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
- "State Parks & Outdoor Recreation". Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
- "Bohm Woods Nature Preserve". Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
- "Bohm Woods State Nature Preserve". Heartlands Consevancy. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
- "Cape Bend State Fish and Wildlife Area". Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
- "Conserving the Land: The Rock River Country". Critical Trends Assessment Program. Illinois Department of Natural Resources. 2000. Archived from the original on 19 April 2005. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
- "The Rock River Country: An Inventory of the Region's Resources". Critical Trends Assessment Program. Illinois Department of Natural Resources. 2000. Archived from the original on 19 April 2005. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
- "Visit a State Historic Site". Illinois Historic Preservation Division. Retrieved 3 December 2018.