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Cathy Taylor
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Whether you love fishing or have never tried it, taking a kid fishing can be a rewarding experience. Springtime is one of the best times to go fishing, and at the annual Shawnee National Forest fishing derby, you can enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Not only are you spending quality time together, there’s other benefits too. Studies show spending time in nature enriches children’s lives by making them healthier and happier. It also can inspire a lifelong appreciation for the outdoors.

On Saturday, May 20, Shawnee National Forest will host two kid’s fishing derbies for children age 5 to 15. This is a free event, and children must be accompanied by an adult. No fishing license is needed, and some bait will be provided. Prizes will be awarded in various categories. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Participants begin fishing at 8:30 a.m., and lunch will be provided. You may want to bring a chair or blanket. The event will be held rain or shine at:

·         Oakwood Bottoms Interpretive Site, Grand Tower, Illinois. For more info, contact the Mississippi Bluffs Ranger Station at 618-833-8576.

·         Pennant Bar – Pond #4, Grantsburg, Illinois. For more info, contact the Hidden Springs Ranger Station at 618-658-2111.

About Shawnee National Forest

Administered by the USDA Forest Service, 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 Follow us on Twitter at Facebook via


The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Forest Service’s Eastern Region includes 20 states in the Midwest and East, stretching from Maine, to Maryland, to Missouri, to Minnesota. There are 17 national forests and one national tallgrass prairie in the Eastern Region. For more information, visit

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