DOTW : Shawnee National Forest

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-2003
DOTW : Shawnee National Forest
Mon, 07-28-2003 - 10:13am
This week's destination was inspired by our newlywed Ericka. Shawnee National Forest in Illinois sounds like a great place to spend a camping honeymoon! The following information comes from their official web page and answers some frequently asked

questions. More detailed info is available at:


There are 15 designated camping areas within the Shawnee

National Forest. These developed campgrounds are usually

open from April 1 through December 15, although there are

some exceptions. Campsites are available on a first-come,

first serve basis. There is a maximum of 8 campers to a site

and a maximum of 14 days continuous use. Campers can

then transfer to another campground if they desire further



There a variety of fishing opportunities ranging from the Ohio

River to small fishing ponds. All rules and regulations set by

the Illinois Department of Natural Resources are followed on

the Shawnee National Forest. Anglers must have their license

in possession at all times while fishing. For more information

on any of the lakes or ponds, contact the appropriate District

Ranger’s Office.

Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing and rappelling on the Shawnee National

Forest is permitted at Jackson Falls on the Vienna Ranger

District. However, there are several other designated rock

climbing and rappelling areas throughout southern Illinois

that are not part of the National Forest. If you are not an

experienced climber, we suggest that you contact other

resources for safety information. When rock climbing or

rappelling, please avoid disturbing plants on the rock faces

and be courteous to other visitors.


Small, open fires are permitted except during extremely high

fire danger and within Natural Areas. No special permits are

required. Please use extreme caution with campfires and

make sure they are dead out before vacating the campsite.

Use only dead and down material for firewood. Cutting or

defacing live trees or shrubs is prohibited.

Primitive Camping

Primitive camping is allowed anywhere in the Shawnee

National Forest with the exception of developed recreation

areas, Natural Areas, developed campgrounds, on lake

shores, near streams, or on trails. Primitive camping is free

and is allowed any time of year. Do not trespass on private

land, do not cut down live trees, shrubs, or other vegetation,

clean up all personal garbage, and make sure all fires are

completely out. Campers may camp up to 14 consecutive

days, but no permanent structures may be built. It is not

necessary to check in with a Shawnee National Forest office

unless you wish to do so in case of an emergency.

Hiking and Backpacking

There are many miles of diverse hiking and backpacking

trails in the Shawnee National Forest including the 160-mile

River to River Trail. Take extra precautions during hunting

seasons by wearing bright orange clothing. It is a good idea

to carry a compass and map. Forest streams do not meet the

safety standards for drinking water. We recommend taking

your water with you or purifying stream water before

drinking it. National Forest ownership is scattered with

privately-owned lands interspersed. Respect the rights of

these owners by staying on public lands.

All visitors are urged to follow the "Leave No Trace Principles":

Plan ahead and prepare

• Know the area and what to expect

• Select appropriate equipment

• Repackage food

Camp and travel on durable surfaces

• In popular areas, concentrate use

• In remote areas, spread use

• Avoid places where impact is just beginning

Pack it in, Pack it out

• Reduce litter at the source

• Dispose of trash and garbage properly

Properly dispose of what you can’t pack out

• Dispose of human waster responsibly

• Minimize soap use and food scraps in waste water

Leave what you find

• Minimize site alterations

• Avoid damaging trees and plants

• Leave natural and cultural artifacts

• Respect private land

• Reduce your impact on other visitors

Minimize use and impact of fires

• Know fire restrictions and always carry a stove

• Keep your fire small and safe

Shawnee National Forest offices are open from 8:00am to

4:30pm , Monday – Friday and are closed on holidays. The

address and phone number for each District are available

on their web page.

I really like the sound of the primitive camping...scattered throughout the forest

instead of everyone lumped together. And the leave no trace principles are good

to practice everywhere.

Have a good week everyone!