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ANNUAL OZARK TOUR TO HIGHLIGHT WATERFALLS AND WILDFLOWERS

HARRISBURG, Ill. (MARCH 11, 2016) – Several interested citizens and civic groups have partnered with the Shawnee National Forest to relive Trigg’s Trails, Tours and Detours, also known as the Ozark Tours. Experience the extraordinary scenic beauty of this region by embarking in the spring Ozark Tour “Waterfalls and Wildflowers”. Hosted by Gallatin and Hardin County Tourism, River to River Trail Society and the Shawnee National Forest this guided tour will take place Saturday April 2nd and will feature some of the most outstanding waterfalls of the area and trails lined with vibrant wildflowers.

The beginning of Ozark Tours started with Col L.O. Trigg in 1931 and continued annually until his death in 1949. Col. Trigg led expeditions into the forests of southern Illinois to demonstrate to the public at large the natural beauty of this corner of the state. In a large part due to these annual Ozark Tours, the Forest Commission authorized the purchase of lands in southern Illinois resulting in the establishment of the Shawnee National Forest.

Individuals interested in trekking in Col. Trigg’s footsteps can register for the spring tour by contacting the Illinois Ozark tourism at 618-264-5854 or [email protected] This all-day tour involves strenuous hiking or walking over rocky and steep surfaces to reach the waterfalls. The cost of the Ozark Tour is $40.00 and includes bus transportation, tour guides, catered picnic lunch and souvenir t-shirt. Pre-registration is required and detailed itinerary will be provided to registrants. The tour will begin at the Hidden Springs Ranger Station in Vienna, IL. at 8:00 am. and return to the ranger station approximately 5:00 pm.

As with the previous Ozark Tours, the Waterfalls and Wildflower Tour will visit some of the sites that Col Trigg visited during the 1930s such as the big falls at Ferne Clyffe State Park and lesser known spots such as the Happy Hollow Double Falls. Participants should be aware that this Ozark Tour will require more strenuous physical activities than typically encountered in other Ozark Tours. In order to reach the waterfalls participants will have to hike cross-country, climb, and sometimes scramble over steep rocky escarpments to reach each individual waterfall – and see all those wonderful wildflowers along the way. Sturdy hiking boots, as well as long sleeves and long pants are necessary.

So treat yourself to a spring day and join us April 2nd discovering the wonderful Waterfalls and Wildflowers under our southern skies; plus a few experiences you are not likely to have anywhere else — except on an Ozark Tour! For more information contact Illinois Ozark at 618-264-5854 or [email protected]

Administered by the USDA Forest Service, the Shawnee National Forest is one of 155 national forests nationwide. As the only national forest in Illinois, the Shawnee offers numerous avenues for connecting with the natural world through its 280,000 acres of varied landscape. Whether your interests lie more in outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking or camping, or include learning about the unique natural and cultural heritage of southern Illinois, the fields, forests and streams of the Shawnee welcome you. To discover more about the Shawnee National Forest, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/shawnee. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/shawneenf and Facebook via https://www.facebook.com/shawneenatlforest. The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov.