HARRISBURG, IL. April 23, 2020 –, In an effort to provide mission critical and essential
services despite the historic pandemic, USDA Forest Service staff are continuing to work on
projects protecting forest health and improving recreation sites.
Despite the virtual workforce, significant work is being done on trail projects including
removal of obsolete signage in the Lusk Creek Wilderness, new trail re-routes in the Jackson
Falls area, staining and sealing the boardwalk and benches at Garden of the Gods, and cleaning
up increased trash at Pounds Hollow, Rim Rock, Iron Furnace, and Garden of the Gods..
Staff at the Shawnee National Forest have already noticed the impact from increased visitation.
Although work continues to be done, limited staffing does not allow work to continue at the
same pace. As the weather gets warmer and more southern Illinoisans get out to hike and hunt,
please remember to please pack out everything you packed in. The Forest Service encourages
the public to follow all Leave No Trace principles. You can find out more about Leave No Trace
at www.lnt.org. Significant trash or damage to the areas could delay reopening.
As visitors continue to visit the forest in large congregations, or pack into already crowded
trails, the Shawnee National Forest urges recreators to follow local and state Stay-at-Home
guidelines, practice social distancing, , and keep community members, forest employees, and
fellow outdoor enthusiasts safe.
To protect public health and safety, all visitors to the forest are encouraged to:
Avoid visiting the forest if you are sick and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Follow CDC guidance on personal hygiene and social distancing before and during your
visit to the forest.
Take your trash with you when you leave. Trash overflowing the receptacles becomes
litter and can be harmful to wildlife and attract predators.
Please make arrangements to use the restroom before or after your visit to the forest. Unmanaged waste creates a health hazard for our employees and for other visitors.