List of protected areas of Illinois

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. There is one UNESCO World Heritage Site in Illinois, Cahokia.


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 the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, include nature reserves.

There is also one national forest, Shawnee National Forest, and several other sites administered by the National Park Service, including portions of National Trails. There are also National Wildlife Refuges.

Federal protected areas

U.S. Wilderness Areas

National Forest Service

United States Fish and Wildlife Service

National Park Service

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 Engineers

Current state parks

State parks are owned by the state and generally administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Park Name   County or Counties   Area (acres)  Area (km2)   Date
Bodies of water    Remarks  
Anderson Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area Fulton 2,247 9.09 1947
Apple River Canyon State Park Jo Daviess 297 1.20 1932 Apple River
Argyle Lake State Park McDonough 1,700 6.9 1948 Argyle Lake
Baldwin Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area Randolph 2,018 8.17 ? Baldwin Lake
Bartlett Woods Nature Preserve Lee 23 0.093 1987 Big Bureau Creek
Beall Woods State Park Wabash 635 2.57 1966 Coffee Creek
Beaver Dam State Park Macoupin 750 3.0 1947 Beaver Dam Lake
Big River State Forest Henderson 2,900 12 1925 Mississippi River
Buffalo Rock State Park & Effigy Tumuli LaSalle 298 1.21 November 15, 1928 Illinois River
Cache River State Natural Area Johnson 14,314 57.93 1970
Carlyle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area Fayette 37,000 150 1966 Carlyle Lake
Castle Rock State Park Ogle 2,000 8.1 1921 Rock River
Cave-in-Rock State Park Hardin 204 0.83 1929 Ohio River
Chain O'Lakes State Park McHenry 1,700 6.9 1945 Bluff Lake, Catherine Lake, Channel Lake, Fox Lake, Fox River, Grass Lake, Marie Lake, Nippersink Lake, Petite Lake, Pistakee Lake, Redhead Lake, Turner Lake
Channahon State Park Will 20.5 0.083 1932 DuPage River, Des Plaines River, Kankakee River
Clinton Lake State Recreation Area DeWitt 9,300 38 1978 Clinton Lake, Salt Creek, Old Creek
Coffeen Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area Montgomery 297 1.20 1966 Coffeen Lake, Shoal Creek
Crawford County State Fish and Wildlife Area Crawford 1,129 4.57 ? Huston Creek
Delabar State Park Henderson 89 0.36 1960
Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area Will 5,000 20 1948 Kankakee River, Milliken Lake
Dixon Springs State Park Pope 801 3.24 1946 Wabash River
Donnelley/Depue State Park Putnam 3,015 12.20 1982 Lake DePue, Spring Lake, Coleman Lake, Illinois River
Eagle Creek State Recreation Area Shelby 11,100 45 May, 1963 Lake Shelbyville, Eagle Creek (Illinois), Wolf Creek
Edward R. Madigan State Fish and Wildlife Area Logan 974 3.94 1971 Salt Creek
Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area Clinton 3,000 12 ? Carlyle Lake, Lake Shelbyville
Ferne Clyffe State Park Johnson 2,430 9.8 1949 Ferne Clyffe Lake
Fort Massac State Park Massac 1,450 5.9 1908 Ohio River
Fox Ridge State Park Coles 2,064 8.35 1930s Ridge Lake, Embarras River
Frank Holten State Recreation Area St. Clair 1,080 4.4 1964 Whispering Willow Lake, Grand Marais Lake
Franklin Creek State Park Lee 664 2.69 1970 Franklin Creek
Fults Hill Prairie State Natural Area Monroe 997 4.03 1970 Kidd Lake
Gebhard Woods State Park Grundy 30 0.12 1934 Nettle Creek
Giant City State Park Jackson, Union 1,100 4.5 1927 Little Grassy Lake, Indian Creek
Golconda Marina State Recreation Area Pope 274 1.11 ? Ohio River
Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area Grundy 2,537 10.27 1969 Goose Lake, Des Plaines River, Kankakee River, Illinois River
Green River State Wildlife Area Lee 2,565 10.38 1940 Green River
Hamilton County State Fish and Wildlife Area Hamilton 1,683 6.81 1962 Dolan Lake
Harry "Babe" Woodyard State Natural Area Vermilion 1,104 4.47 ? ?
Hazel & Bill Rutherford Wildlife Prairie State Park Peoria 1,700 6.9 2000 Deep Lake, Caboose Lake, Beaver Lake, Horseshoe Lake
Heidecke Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area Grundy 1,300 5.3 ? Heidecke Lake
Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park Bureau, Lee, Whiteside, Rock Island, Henry 60,314 244.08 1970 W To Moline then N to Rock Falls vic. 104.5-mile (168.2 km) linear park
Hidden Springs State Forest Shelby 1,200 4.9 1960 Richland Creek, Possum Creek
Horseshoe Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area Alexander 10,200 41 ? Horseshoe Lake
Horseshoe Lake State Park Madison 2,960 12.0 ?
Illini State Park LaSalle 510 2.1 1934 Illinois River
Illinois Beach State Park Lake 4,160 16.8 1948 Lake Michigan
Illinois Caverns State Natural Area Monroe 120 0.49 1985 None 9.6 km of the park are passages underground.
Iroquois County State Wildlife Area Iroquois 2,480 10.0 1944 Glacial Lake Watseka
James "Pate" Philip State Park DuPage, Kane 3,432 13.89 1991 Brewester Creek
Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area Cass 16,550 67.0 June, 1993 Gridley Lake, Prairie Lake, Drake Lake
Johnson-Sauk Trail State Park Henry 1,365 5.52 ? Johnson-Sauk Trail Lake
Jubilee College State Park Peoria 3,200 13 1933
Kankakee River State Park Kankakee, Will 4,000 16 1938 Kankakee River
Kaskaskia River State Fish & Wildlife Area St. Clair, Monroe, Randolph 20,000 81 ? Kaskaskia River, Baldwin Lake, Peabody River
Kickapoo State Recreation Area Vermilion 2,842 11.50 1939 Vermilion River
Kinkaid Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area Jackson 11,750 47.6 1968 Kinkaid Lake, Johnson Creek, Reed Creek
Kishwaukee River State Fish and Wildlife Area DeKalb 570 2.3 2002 Kishwaukee River
Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park Stephenson 715 2.89 1948 Lake Le-Aqua-Na
Lake Murphysboro State Park Jackson 1,022 4.14 1948 Lake Murphysboro
LaSalle Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area LaSalle 2,058 8.33 ? LaSalle Lake
Lewis and Clark State Historic Site Madison
Lincoln Trail Homestead State Memorial Macon 162 0.66 1957 Sangamon River
Lincoln Trail State Park Clark 1,023 4.14 1958 Lincoln Trail Lake
Lowden State Park Ogle 207 0.84 1945 Rock River
Mackinaw River State Fish and Wildlife Area Tazewell 1,448 5.86 ? Mackinaw River
Marshall State Fish & Wildlife Area Marshall 6,000 24 1925 Red Hills Lake, Muddy Creek
Matthiessen State Park LaSalle 1,700 6.9 1943 Deer Park Lake, Vermilion River
Mautino State Fish and Wildlife Area Bureau 911 3.69 ? 15 lakes
Mazonia/Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife Area Grundy 1,017 4.12 1981 Braidwood Lake
Mermet Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area Massac 2,630 10.6 1949 Mermet Lake
Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area Vermilion 2,700 11 1986 Middle Fork
Mississippi Palisades State Park Carroll 2,500 10 1973 Mississippi River, Apple River
Mississippi River State Fish and Wildlife Area Jersey, Calhoun 24,386 98.69 ? Stump Lake, Fuller Lake
Moraine Hills State Park McHenry 2,200 8.9 1939 Lake Defiance, Fox River
Moraine View State Recreation Area McLean 1,687 6.83 1959 Dawson Lake, Salt Creek
Morrison-Rockwood State Park Whiteside 1,164 4.71 1971 Rock Creek, Lake Carlton
Nauvoo State Park Hancock 148 0.60 ? Mississippi River, Lake Horton
Newton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area Jasper 1,775 7.18 1979 Newton Lake, Sand Creek, Laws Creek
North Point Marina Lake 297 1.20 ? Lake Michigan
Peabody River State Fish and Wildlife Area Randolph 2,200 8.9 ? Peabody River
Pere Marquette State Park Jersey 8,050 32.6 1931 Mississippi River, Illinois River
Piney Creek Ravine State Natural Area Jackson, Randolph 198 0.80 1972 Piney Creek
Prophetstown State Recreation Area Whiteside 53 0.21 1947 Coon Creek, Rock River
Pyramid State Recreation Area Perry 19,701 79.73 1968
Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area Fayette 1,980 8.0 ? Ramsey Lake, Ramsey Creek
Randolph County State Recreation Area Randolph 1,101 4.46 1958 Randolph County Lake
Ray Norbut State Fish and Wildlife Area Pike 1,140 4.6 1970 Illinois River
Red Hills State Park Lawrence 967 3.91 ?
Rend Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area Franklin, Jefferson 38,900 157 ? Rend Lake
Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area Fulton 5,660 22.9 1945 Rice Lake (Illinois)
Rock Cut State Park Winnebago 3,092 12.51 ? Pierce Lake, Olson Lake
Rock Island Trail State Park Stark, Peoria 1989 26-mile (42 km) public rail trail.
Saline County State Fish and Wildlife Area Saline 1,270 5.1 1959
Sam Dale Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area Wayne 1,302 5.27 1959 Sam Dale Lake
Sam Parr State Fish and Wildlife Area Jasper 1,180 4.8 1960
Sand Ridge State Forest Mason 7,200 29 1939 None
Sanganois State Fish and Wildlife Area Cass, Schuyler, Mason 10,360 41.9 1948
Sangchris Lake State Recreation Area Christian, Sangamon 3,022 12.23 1964 Sangchris Lake
Shabbona Lake State Park DeKalb 1,550 6.3 1978 Shabbona Lake
Shelbyville State Fish and Wildlife Area Moultrie 6,200 25 ?
Sielbeck Forest Natural Area Johnson 385 1.56 ?
Siloam Springs State Park Adams, Brown 3,323 13.45 1940
Silver Springs State Fish & Wildlife Area Kendall 1,350 5.5 1969 Fox River, Loon Lake, Beaver Lake, Silver Springs
Snakeden Hollow State Fish and Wildlife Area Knox 2,500 10 1987 Snakeden Hollow Lake
South Shore State Park Clinton 26,000 110 ? Carlyle Lake
Spitler Woods State Natural Area Macon 202.5 0.819 1937 Squirrel Creek
Spring Lake Fish and Wildlife Area Tazewell 2,032 8.22 1950 Spring Lake
Starved Rock State Park LaSalle 2,630 10.6 1911 Illinois River
Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area Marion 3,103 12.56 1959
Ten Mile Creek State Fish & Wildlife Area Hamilton, Jefferson 6,000 24 1988 Ten Mile Creek
Trail of Tears State Forest Union 5,114 20.70 1929 Mississippi River, Clear Creek
Tunnel Hill State Trail Johnson, Pulaski, Saline, Williamson 45-mile (72.4 km) Trail.
Turkey Bluffs State Fish and Wildlife Area Randolph 2,264 9.16 ?
Union County State Fish and Wildlife Area Union 6,202 25.10 1940s
Volo Bog State Natural Area Lake 1,150 4.7 1970 Volo Bog
Walnut Point State Park Douglas 671 2.72 1968
Washington County State Recreation Area Washington
Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area
Weinberg-King State Park
Weldon Springs State Recreation Area
White Pines Forest State Park Ogle 385 1.56 1927 Pine Creek, Spring Creek Southernmost stand of virgin, native white pine trees in the state of Illinois.[1]
William G. Stratton State Park
William W. Powers State Recreation Area Cook 580 2.3 1947 Wolf Lake
Wolf Creek State Park
Woodford State Fish and Wildlife Area

Historic preservation

Around 50 usually smaller sites concerning historic structures are owned by the state and administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, some of which may have a nature preservation component, including the Cahokia World Heritage Site and Lincoln's New Salem.[2]

Local level parks

A variety of county and town protected areas exist in Illinois, including city park districts and county-wide Forest Preserve Districts. 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 69,000 acres (280 km2) of open land, or 11 percent of Cook County’s land area.


  1. "Conserving the Land: The Rock River Country," Critical Trends Assessment Program, Rock River Country Project (), Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 3 July 2007.

External links

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