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Mission Statement
We conserve, preserve and restore natural areas,
We provide cultural, historical and environmental opportunities,
We provide compatible outdoor recreation experiences.

Phone: (217) 586-3360 | Fax: (217) 586-5724 | Email:


Online Registration and Reservations

We are excited to offer online registration and facilities reservations! Live by your schedule, not ours. Sign up for an activity, and reserve facilities, all from your computer or mobile device at any time of the day or night – whenever it is convenient for you.

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Water’s Worth to You
Writing Contest
Contest submissions accepted
Thursday, 5/25/2016 through Friday, 7/21/2016

Contest Description:
Water has an enormous impact on our lives—emotionally, physically, mentally— whether we realize it or not. This impact has been expressed and recorded for thousands of years through the written word. In conjunction with the Smithsonian travelling exhibit, “Water|Ways”, the Illinois Humanities Council, and the News-Gazette, the Museum of the Grand Prairie wants to know how water has affected your life through prose, whether creative fiction, non-fiction, essays, short stories, or poetry.  How would you tell your water story? What does water mean to you? What role does water play in your work, your home, your neighborhood, your school, or your world view?.

Music on the Lake: Hot Iron String Band
Sunday, July 24
Walnut Hill Shelter, Homer Lake Forest Preserve, 5-7pm
Join us for an evening of music with a view at the beautiful Homer Lake Forest Preserve! Sit back, relax, and enjoy the boot-tapping, lively music of the Hot Iron String Band. FREE!

Reserve a Campsite Now!
The Harry L. Swartz Campground at Middle Fork River Forest Preserve is open for the 2016 season! Campground consists of 65 campsites that can accommodate individuals as well as larger groups. Fifty-three of the sites have electricity. Each campsite is a quiet retreat shaded by large oak, hickory and hackberry trees. Wildflowers grow in abundance. Campsites are available per night on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are allowed for stays of at least three consecutive nights.

Make a reservation



The Science of Stream Monitoring
Sunday, July 24
Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 2-3 pm
Find out how stream monitoring helps us keep our wildlife and people healthy! Jodi Vandermyde, Aquatic Ecologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey, will explore how to tell if a stream is healthy by examining aquatic macroinvertebrates and channel structure. The quality (good or poor) of a stream can be determined by what species are present and the types of habitat available. FREE! For more info: (217) 896-2455 or

Construction Updates
The District is making improvements over the next several months to the boat launch and boardwalk area between Walnut Hill and the Natural Playscape at Homer Lake Forest Preserve. To ensure the safety of visitors the main parking lot will be closed during this time. The overflow parking directly north will be open for visitors.

Questions about this project can be directed to