Shawnee National Forest is a popular destination for people headed to Southern Illinois for this summer’s solar eclipse, which takes place August 21.
“We expect many people will watch the solar eclipse at NASA’s marquee event in Carbondale, and some will choose to watch it from Shawnee National Forest,” said Brendan Cain, the forest’s supervisor. “We want our visitors to remember that August is hot, and it’s important to stay safe in the heat. We want everyone to have a great visit. So, pack water, come prepared and enjoy.”
To assist visitors who plan to view the eclipse on Shawnee National Forest, new information about where to see it, where to stay and how to stay safe can be found on the forest’s website: www.fs.usda.gov/shawnee.
Where to see it?
Although much of the Shawnee is covered in forests, there are open areas that provide good locations for viewing the eclipse. National forest land is intermixed with private land and extends across southern Illinois from the Ohio River to the Mississippi River.
Check out these open areas for a great view of the eclipse:
· Johnson Creek Recreation Area (with campground)
· Turkey Bayou Campground
· Oakwood Bottoms Interpretive Site (primitive camping will be available Aug.14-22)
· Lake of Egypt – south end (primitive camping will be available Aug.14-22)
· Pennant Bar area – near Grantsburg (primitive camping will be available Aug.14-22)
· Pounds Hollow Recreation Area (with campground)
· Camp Cadiz Campground
· Tower Rock Campground
Where to stay?
Nine Forest Service campgrounds are available, in addition to Lake of Egypt, Oakwood Bottoms, and Pennant Bar areas to accommodate campers during the eclipse. Most of the developed campgrounds charge a fee, but camping outside of developed campgrounds is free.
· Pounds Hollow will have additional campground loops open.
· Turkey Bayou and Tower Rock Campgrounds are no-fee campgrounds. Space is limited at Turkey Bayou Campground, call Friends of the Bayou at 618-363-5489 to check availability.
· No reservations accepted at any forest sites.
· Due to storm damage, some roads remain closed. Visit the forest website’s Alerts & Notices page for current forest road closures.
For the latest information and a list of campground amenities and fees, visit our Recreation webpage under ‘Quick Links’.
How to stay safe
Call 911 if you have an emergency.
· Plan ahead and prepare.
· Let someone know your travel plans.
· Obtain maps or GPS locations of the area that you are planning to visit.
· Carry plenty of water and food.
· Be aware of changing weather conditions, high temperatures and humidity.
· Be aware of your surroundings. High bluffs, abandoned cisterns and dead standing trees are present throughout the forest.
· Cell phone reception may be weak or non-existent in parts of the Shawnee.
· Ticks and other insects are abundant. Insect repellent is recommended.
· Poison ivy is widespread. Learn what it looks like so that you can avoid it. Wash skin and clothing after coming in contact.
· Venomous snakes occur in southern Illinois. Be cautious, watch where you step or place your hands.
· Practice the Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics: www.lnt.org
For more information visit our safety webpage: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/shawnee/learning/safety-ethics
Visit the NASA safety website for eclipse viewing safety information: www.nasa.gov/content/eye-safety-during-a-total-solar-eclipse