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USA Illinois Kickapoo State Park


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© james d keigley

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State Park Link:
 Kickapoo State Park


Nearby Parks:
 Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Areas


State Park Contact Information:
Kickapoo State Park
10906 Kickapoo Park Road
Oakwood, Illinois   61858
Phone: 217-442-4915
Email: john.hott@illinois.gov
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State Park Overview:
Where in Illinois can you go running or hiking, canoeing, fishing for trout, camping, hunting or scuba diving -- all against a backdrop of breathtaking natural beauty?

Kickapoo State Recreation Area near Danville in Vermilion County, that's where. The site is easily reached via Interstate 74.

Once a scarred wasteland ravaged by turn-of-the-century strip-mine operations, Kickapoo State State Recreation Area's 2,842 acres now provide an outdoor playground with something to appeal to every member of the family. Twenty two deep water ponds, ranging in size from 0.2 of an acre to 57 acres, provide a total of 221 acres of water for boaters,canoeists and anglers. Lushly forested uplands and bottomlands along the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River is habitat for enough birds, wildlife and wildflowers to please any nature lover, while nature trails and running trails provide pathways to inspiration and physical fitness. If you want a less demanding excursion in the outdoors, there are facilities for camping and picnicking.

Kickapoo owes its crystal clear ponds and luxuriantly forested ridges and hillsides to the regenerative powers of nature. Nearly a century of coal production using strip-mining techniques devastated the landscape. But during the past 50 years, trees and vegetation have gradually reclaimed naked ridges of subsoil, and stagnant mine ponds gradually have cleared.

The park apparently was the first in the nation built on strip-mined land, and one of the first to be subsidized through public contributions. The state's initial purchase of 1,290 acres of mined lands from United Electric Coal Co. in 1939 was largely underwritten with contributions collected from Danville area residents.
Nature of the Area:
Natural Features

If you're a hiker, a wildflower enthusiast or a lover of wildlife, Kickapoo State Park is a prime area for you to pursue your passion year-round.

Once stark strip mine banks are now covered with a forest of cottonwood, haw, ash and wild cherry. Deep water ponds abound with aquatic insects, plants, crustaceans, amphibians and a variety of fish. Cypresses, introduced along the pond edges, add to the variety.

The Middle Fork of the Vermilion River, a federal and state designated Scenic River, runs through the park.

A bottomland forest of sycamores and silver maples and upland timbers of stately oaks, hickories, beeches, sugar maples and dogwoods are an endless source of fascination for nature lovers and habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. The variety, number and mix of hardwood species present in Kickapoo's upland and bottomland forests translate into a firestorm of fall color each autumn.

In spring, the woods explode with a vibrant display of colorful wildflowers, including jack-in-the-pulpits, violets, bluebells, sweet Williams, spring beauties, Dutchman's-breeches, wake-robins and nodding trilliums.

In the bottomlands, birders may spot kingfishers or pileated woodpeckers flitting among the stately trees. Other species that may be glimpsed include red-winged blackbirds, least bitterns, grebes, great blue herons, warblers, vireos and a variety of songbirds, and even wild turkeys. A birding check list available at the park office lists more than 100 species documented at the park.

A variety of animal life can be seen, including white-tailed deer, squirrel, raccoon, cottontail rabbit, muskrat, mink and ground squirrels.

Nature lovers should be wary. In addition to the trees and wildflowers that proliferate at Kickapoo State Park, poison ivy is abundant. People using the trails should learn to identify the poison ivy plant and avoid it at all times of the year.
Reviews By Park Visitors:
visitor rating: (13 votes)   |Post Your Own Review

Great for the whole family

We love coming out because the lots are a good size and when with a large group we have room to set up yard games. Can also keep an eye on kids at the site on top with the circle and the playground.

(name not given)  11-Oct-2010

Trail Runners Paradice

Kennekuk Road Runners put the park on the map by making and keeping the trails open for walkers, joggers, hikers and runners. KRR has been wonderful for this beautiful park. See it for yourself and bring a friend or the family. Thankyou for making the trails available for everyone. And for hosting great trail racing.

Written by Runnerrex  13-Oct-2009

awsome fishing and great wildlife

my husband and i have enjoyed the camping alone and last time we went we had five dogs and two kids with use staff is awsome great family camping, we are comming this weekend again alone look forward too seeing all the wonderful staff people

Written by rick and gale carter  9-Sep-2009

A great place

I would really hate to see this park closed when it offers so much to so many.

Written by Tarteaga  12-Aug-2009

Family Favorite Park

We go camping several times a year at Kickapoo. It is a clean and beautiful park full of wildlife. We enjoy taking our kids on a canoe or tube ride on the river. Great place to have a family getaway!

Written by MLRBLUE01  13-Jul-2009

One Of Our Families Fav. Parks

This park is one of the best you`ve ever been to. I`ve gone there ever since I was a kid.They Had a HUGE success with the Kickapoo Clean Up Day.Over 500 of Danvilles Citizens showed up to help the park.I Highly recomend Kickapoo State Park to anyone who loves camping and the outdoors.

(name not given)  29-May-2009

beautiful area in a flat state

This park is very nice. The campground has nice restrooms/showers, paved roads and many level sites for motorhomes. Nice tent areas also. Deer are abundant. But we need help keeping it open. Our Governor whom is exactly like our previous Governor wants to close this park and several others in downstate Il. Lets hope he changes his tiny mind.

Written by Bill in Rossville (IL.)  29-Oct-2008

I just have to echo the sentiments above about what a loss it will be when the governor closes this park in November. There are far better ways to save the state a dime, even if they may be politically inconvenient.

(name not given)  24-Oct-2008

Help Save This Park

This a beautiful park. We will be heading there this weekend, possibly for the last time. A wonderful park for all ages will be sadly missed when the extremely selfish governor closes the gates November 1. Please go to www.saveourparks.com to voice your opinion.

Written by Laurie in Petersburg, IL  7-Oct-2008

Beautiful Park

This is a wonderful park for family hiking and camping. Please call our governor and tell him to sign the bill to save this park or it will be closing November 1st. Gov. Blagojevich phone # 1-217-524-4049. Save our Parks. sign the petition@ www.gopetition.com

Written by princessgrandma  6-Oct-2008

Favorite park

Wonderful Park that the Governor wants to close as of November 1 2008. What a sad day that will be. We will lose so much for our family and friends. Let Kickapoo know how important their park is to you, your family and friends. They are trying to find a way to keep it open. We want to spend many more years camping there.

Written by Bonnie  8-Sep-2008

Great Park

This is a great park. I live not far from it. My kids enjoy going there to the parks and to hike and fish.. Our park is closing though. :( Help us keep it open.. Contact Blagojevich 217-782-6830. HELP US VOICE OUT TO KEEP OUR PARK OPEN!!

(name not given)  4-Sep-2008

Love the park

We love the park and camping. They DO NOT take reservations anymore and the is a challenge with high gas prices. I hope they change their mind soon.

Written by Lisa  25-Jul-2008

Problems for hikers

Camping facilities are excellent. Challenging for hikers, but we like it that way. (We are a Boy Scout Troop). The trail map furnished by the state is dangerous. Trail markings on the state map have been changed. Johnson Hill Bridge was removed several years ago, so the Out and Back Trail is useless. Check web site for Kickapoo Mountain Bike Club for trail map of northeastern part of the Park.

(name not given)  2-Jun-2008

Camping:
For campers, Kickapoo has two major campgrounds for tent and trailer camping, with 184 sites. About half the sites have electrical hookups, 2 shower buildings are available to all campers and a sanitary dump station is available. Campers occupying electrical sites are required to pay for the availability of electricity even if the service is not used. A limited number of walk-in sites are available for primitive campers.

Several campsites can be reserved in advance by writing the site or by applying in person. The maximum length of stay is 15 days in a 30-day period. Group camping is permitted.

Campers must have camping equipment with them when they register to camp. All campers must obtain a camping permit before entering the campgrounds.
Trails:
If you're into physical fitness, the 7.6-mile Out & Back running and hiking trail offers you a chance to exercise while enjoying awe-inspiring natural scenery. The course is rated "difficult" and is designed to meet the demands of experienced outdoor hikers or runners, passing through forests, bottomlands and the edge areas of abandoned croplands.

If you want a less demanding walk, there are a number of shorter and easier hiking trails in the park, that are well marked.

You bring the hot dogs and the burgers, and Kickapoo has everything else you need for a summertime picnic. Six main picnic areas are available with shelters, tables, outdoor stoves, drinking water and playground equipment. A concession stand, 217-354-2060,offers refreshments and souvenirs on summer weekends, and rents canoes and rowboats daily except Wednesday. Picnic shelters maybe reserved upon request by calling the site.

Mountain Biking:

If you are into a challenging ride, try the 12 miles of the best single track trails in Illinois. The trails are rated easy to very technical. Enjoy the wooded hills and ravines of the park as you ride the best mountain bike trails in central Illinois.
Boating:
There are 12 launching ramps on nine of Kickapoo's lakes. Boat and canoe rental is available for Clear Pond. Electric motors only are allowed on the park's lakes.
Fishing and Hunting:
Fishing:

With 22 lakes and access to the Middle Fork River, Kickapoo is known for the opportunities it provides for water-based outdoor activities. Anglers find excellent fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, crappie and redear sunfish. Especially popular are the annual fall and spring stockings of rainbow trout, which provide an unusual opportunity for central Illinois anglers to fish for catchable-size trout.

Hunting:

Hunting

More than 1,000 acres -- including forests, grasslands, edge and cropland -- are available for the use of hunters each fall. Kickapoo hunters may harvest white-tailed deer (both firearm and archery), squirrel, dove, woodcock, quail, cock pheasant, rabbit, raccoon and opossum.

Special regulations and restrictions apply and all hunters must register before hunting the area.
History of the Area:
Kickapoo State Recreation Area and the surrounding area have a long and rich cultural history. Archaeological excavations have provided evidence of a prehistoric village on the Middle Fork River near the park that was home to Native Americans of the Woodland and Mississippian cultures between A.D. 500 and 1500.

A Kickapoo village was located at the confluence of the Middle Fork and Salt Fork rivers. It was in this village that Kennekuk, the "Kickapoo Prophet" lived.

Kennekuk became a religious leader espousing a modified form of Christianity that incorporated elements of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. A staunch advocate of temperance, Kennekuk became a mediator between local Native Americans and European settlers. He was a signer of several Indian treaties with the United States.

European settlers were drawn to the area by the presence of salt springs, called salines, which were discovered in 1819. Wells were dug to obtain salt brine, which was then boiled down to obtain salt. The salt works were operated by a variety of operators until 1848, producing at the height of operation about 120 bushels of salt per week. One of the original iron rendering kettles can be seen in a small memorial at Salt Kettle Rest Area on I-74.

Among the early settlers in the area were John Cox, Indian fighter and scout during the Black Hawk War, and his wife, Polly. Both are buried in a small pioneer cemetery overlooking the former site of their farmstead cabin near the entrance to Campground Fox. Additional settlers from the area are interred in the All hands Cemetery, just east of the main park pavilion.

Between 1850 and about 1940, much of the Kickapoo State Park area was strip-mined for coal. In fact, Vermilion County is said to be the birthplace of commercial strip-mining practices and one of the first areas to use mechanization for strip mining. The spoil piles and mine pits left behind after nearly a century of mining was the legacy from which nature had to recover to transform Kickapoo State Park into the outdoor playground it is today.
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Related Links:
Kickapoo State Park - DNR ... All hands Cemetery, just east of the main park pavilion. Between 1850 and about 1940, much of the Kickapoo State Park area was strip-mined for coal. In fact, Vermilion County is said to be the ...
Kickapoo State Park - Kickapoo State Park by David Scott (d-scott1@uiuc.edu) Useful links: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/PARKS/R3/KICKAPOO.HTM ... Illinois web site) Kickapoo State Park, which straddles I-74 ...
Kickapoo Mountain Bike Club - For the mountain biking enthusiast in Central Illinois. Join the Kickapoo Mountain Bike Club. ... is hope for mountain biking fans in Central Illinois. Kickapoo State Park near Danville has allowed an ...
Campground Review - Kickapoo State Park, Oakwood, Illinois - Campground Review - Kickapoo State Park, Oakwood, Illinois ... > Free Credit Report Campground Review Kickapoo State Park, Oakwood, Illinois Submitted by Bob. Very quite. Very clean. Plenty ...
Kickapoo State Park - ... Topographical Maps Tips Training/Fitness Repair/Maintenance Skills/Techniques Kickapoo State Park State: Illinois County: Vermilion Trail Notes: Kickapoo State Park is located in west central ...
Area Attractions:
Kickapoo State Recreation Area is within 4 miles of the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area, which also offers hunting, fishing, canoeing, camping and picnicking opportunities, along with nearly 35 miles of equestrian and hiking trails.

Middle Fork Woods Nature Preserve, dedicated in 1974, is the only known Illinois location of the silvery salamander. The preserve's 83 acres, containing such upland forest species as oak, basswood, maple, beech and hickory, can be found north of the Cypress day use area.
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