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State Conservation Areas Guide

Last Update: April4, 2002

2. Big Bend State Fish and Wildlife Area

Location: West of Prophetstown, IL. off IL Rt 78. [C,D-4] {D-6,7}

is listed but no information is given.
Camping: NO CAMPING.
Directions: Big Bend can be reached by I-80 or I-88 and exiting onto IL Rt 78, then heading south from I-88 or north from I-80. After reaching Prophetstown, look for the Shell Gas Station on IL Rt 78 and turn west on 5th Street. Stay on 5th Street to the edge of town where it intersects with Spring Hill Road. Veer to the left (west) onto Spring Hill Road and follow for about 2 miles. Watch for directional sign. Turn right onto Van Damme Road. Follow Van Damme Road about 1 mile onto Big Bend. 1/4 of a mile farther is our first registration/information sign.

5. Franklin Creek State Natural Area

Location: Franklin Creek State Natural Area is located in Lee County, one mile northwest of the village of Franklin Grove and eight miles east of Dixon just north of Illinois Route 38. [C-6] {C-8,9}
Features: The park contains a 180-acre nature preserve which is an outstanding and diverse natural area in a uniquely beautiful setting.  High, rocky bluffs shelter a perennial creek and create an environment in which a rich flora and fauna thrive.
Hiking: Four and one-half miles of hiking trails are marked and maintained at the park. All trail markers are numbered and clearly shown on the park map to help you follow the trails. The Mill Springs Handicapped Trail is a unique, concrete-surfaced trail suitable for people of all mobility levels. The trail leads to the beautiful Mill Spring and possesses an easy rating. Pioneer Pass is highly recommended to see the park’s unique, natural beauty.
Camping: NO CAMPING - Camping available Lowden and White Pines Forest State Parks, approximately 30 miles away.
Grist Mill: Since 1987 the Franklin Creek Preservation Area Committee has been continuing their volunteer involvement by working to reconstruct the Franklin Creek Grist Mill. The original early American corn meal and wheat flour producing mill, constructed in 1847, was the "largest and most complete" grist mill in Lee County. Upon the completion of this project, the reconstructed mill will be the only truly water-powered operational grist mill in Illinois. The grist mill will be operated by the volunteer organization and is scheduled to open in the Spring of 1999.

Directions: Franklin Creek State Natural Area is located between Rochelle and Dixon, just north of IL RTE 38. On IL RTE 38 on the west side of the small town of Franklin Grove, turn north on Daysville Road and go one block to Old Mill Road. Turn left (west) on Old Mill Road and proceed one mile to the State Natural Area. From northerly parts, Franklin Creek State Natural Area is located 10 miles south of Oregon. On IL RTE 64 in Oregon, ˝ mile east of the bridge over Rock River is the IL RTE 64/Daysville Road intersection (at the Traffic Light). At this intersection go south on Daysville Road 10 miles to the small town of Franklin Grove. At the northern edge of town, turn right (west) on to Old Mill Road and go one mile to the State Natural Area.

6. Green River State Wildlife Area

Location: South of Dixon, IL. off IL. State Hwy. 26.  [C,D-5] {D-8}
Green River State Wildlife Area is a wildlife restoration area popular among hunters, hikers, birders and other outdoor enthusiasts. Topography of the 2,565-acre area varies from flat to gently rolling. Swampy slough areas dominate nearly a third of the acreage, but the remaining portions are prairie restorations, open fields, cultivated areas or timberlands. Many of these areas have been specially planted and managed to provide more food and cover for a variety of wildlife species. Native prairie plants are found in many portions of the Green River Area.
Hiking:  Equestrian Trail: A 10-mile equestrian trail is open for public use from April 15 to Oct. 31.
Camping: Camping spaces with vehicular access are provided. A sanitary dump station also is available.

9. Lowden-Miller State Forest

Location: Along the eastern shoreline of the Rock River, 4 miles south of IL Hwy 64 at Oregon, IL. [C-6] {B,C-8,9}
Features: 2,225 Acres, Excellent deer and turkey habitat, Hiking, Cross-Country Skiing, Hunting.
Hiking: Hiking listed on web site but no trail information available.
NO CAMPING - Camping available Lowden and White Pines Forest State Parks
Directions: If traveling on I-88 or I-39, at Rochelle, IL. Take I-39 north 7 miles to Hwy 64, Exit 104 and go west on Hwy 64 for 15 miles to Oregon.  At first stop light, turn left on Daysville Rd., go 2 miles and turn right on Lowden Rd. Go 1 mile, then turn right on Nashua Rd. to State Forest.

17. Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area

Location: Silver Springs is located five miles west of Yorkville in Kendall County. (Yorkville is 17 milews north of Morris, Il. on Il. Route 47.) [D-7,8] {C,D-10,11}
Features:  A pool of clear bubbling water which sparkles like silver on sunny days provides the basis for the name of Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area. Even on extremely cold days, this pool does not freeze, and visitors marvel at the bordering beds of watercress. Majestic oaks and prairie grasslands provide a panorama of natural beauty to park visitors. The Fox River runs through this picturesque area which is also home to several small manmade lakes.
Hiking: If exercise or nature study is your goal, a scenic four-mile trail winds along the river and through wooded areas overlooking the lakes perfect for an exhilarating walk or a relaxing stroll. If horseback riding is more to your liking, a seven-mile equestrian trail is located in the wildlife management area and is available except for hunting season.)
Camping:  For those who like rustic, primitive environs, an area overlooking the Fox River is available for individual and group camping.  No vehicles are permitted in the camp area, so it requires backpacking a short distance. Only the sounds of nature surround campers in this heavily-wooded area along the river, a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of life. Beginning on July 9, 1999, the campground will be closed to camping by individuals due to problems caused by overuse. At that time, approximately one half of the campground will be closed indefinitely for rehabilitation. Youth groups may continue to use the campground, but are advised that reservations may be needed.  Groups of 25 or more are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.

18. Volo Bog State Natural Area

Location: 45 miles northwest of Chicago in Lake County, at Ingleside, IL. [B-9*] {A-2*}
If you're looking for a truly unique outdoor adventure, head for Volo Bog State Natural Area in northeastern Illinois. Just 45 miles northwest of Chicago in Lake County, this natural area contains Volo Bog, the only "quaking" bog in Illinois to have an open water center.
Hiking:  Volo Bog Interpretive Trail: Designed for hikers only, this half-mile interpretive loop leads visitors through each stage of bog succession. It is constructed of wooden dock sections, boardwalks and a woodchip path. Trail brochures, adapted for each season, are available at the visitor center. Tamarack View Trail: This 2.75-mile trail is designed for hiking and cross-country skiing (with a six-inch minimum snowbase). As park visitors traverse through woods, wetlands, field and prairie, they are given the opportunity to experience and enjoy the diverse communities within the park. From higher elevations along the trail, one can look down into the Volo Bog basin and view the state threatened tamarack trees. The trail begins just south of the visitor center and moves in a counter clockwise direction. All visitors are encouraged to move in the appropriate direction, but it is especially important that skiers do so to avoid accidents.)
Visitor Center:  The new Visitor Center at Volo Bog is now open. Originally opened in 1980, the center is housed in a dairy barn built in the early 1900's.  One of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' sites with an Interpretive Program Coordinator, Volo Bog offers fun educational programs for people of most ages (4-94+).

Directions: From South/Southeast (Chicago/North suburbs) Take I 94 to Route 120 Belvidere Rd Westbound 13 miles to Highway 12. Turn right and travel 2 miles north to Brandenburg Rd. Turn left on Brandenburg Rd. and travel 1.25 miles to the park. From the East (Waukegan/Gurnee) Take Route 120 Belvidere Rd. westbound to Highway 12. Turn right and travel 2 miles north to Brandenburg Rd. Turn left on Brandenburg Rd. and travel 1.25 miles to the park. From the North (Fox Lake/Wisconsin) Take Highway 12 south through Fox Lake 3/4 miles past Route 134 to Brandenburg Rd. Turn right on Brandenburg Rd and go 1.25 miles to the park From the West (Woodstock/McHenry) Take Route 120 east through McHenry about one mile past the Fox River to Chapel Hill Rd. Turn left on Chapel Hill and go 1/2 mile to Lincoln Rd. Turn Right on Lincoln and go 2.5 miles to Brandenburg Rd. turn left on Brandenburg Rd. and go 1/2 mile to the park. From the South (Elgin/Crystal Lake, etc.) Take Route 31 north to Route 120 in McHenry. Turn right and continue east on 120 about one mile past the Fox River to Chapel Hill Rd. Turn left on Chapel Hill and go 1/2 mile to Lincoln Rd. Turn right on Lincoln and go 2.5 miles to Brandenburg Rd. Turn left on Brandenburg and go 1/2 mile to the park.
*coordinates from Chicago & vacinity map on state road map and in Rand McNally.