The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake is looking to repurpose your live Christmas trees. All donated trees will be bundled together to create underwater fish structures. By bundling the trees and weighting them down in the water they will serve a variety of purposes such as providing feeding areas for fish of all sizes and a safe refuge for small fish and they also provide excellent fishing spots for anglers.
Christmas trees can be placed at any of the following Rend Lake boat ramps or parking lot locations between December 25 and January 18. Locations at Rend Lake include: Sugar Creek parking lot, located at the intersection of Licata and Mine 21 roads; Dam West boat ramp, located on the west end of the main dam; or Jackie Branch boat ramp, located north of Rt. 154 across from the Barren Township building. Christmas trees will be accepted at these locations until January 18, 2017.
In the Mt. Vernon area tree drop-off sites are: Veterans Park women’s softball field; Forest Avenue; Optimist Park at 903 Pace Avenue; or Airport Park at 1101 Airport Road. Trees will be accepted at the Mt. Vernon locations until January 8, 2017.
Working through a new partnership with the Marion Park District, two additional collection locations have been created this year. Drop your tree off at Ray Fosse Park at the “Goofy Golf” parking lot, located just north of Route 13 on the east end of Marion at 519 Parish Ave or at Pyramid Park in the northernmost picnic shelter parking lot at 1300 Bevabeck Drive. Trees will be accepted at the Rend Lake and Marion locations until January 18, 2017 and only until January 8th at the Mt. Vernon locations.
Remember that artificial or flocked trees (with artificial snow) cannot be accepted and that all tinsel, decorations, stands, and plastic bags must be removed from the tree prior to drop off.
On a date in March, to be determined later, Corps of Engineers employees, Illinois Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists, and volunteers will team up to place the bundled and weighted trees in the lake. Watch your local newspaper and TV station as well as the Rend Lake Project Office/Visitor Center Facebook page for the exact date that the trees will be placed in the lake. Volunteers and outdoor organizations interested in assisting with the Christmas tree drop should contact Park Ranger Tim Bischoff at the Rend Lake Project Office at 618-724-2493.