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The Carmi Rotary Club Met On Thursday

 

At Thursday’s meeting of the Carmi Rotary club Jacque Cullison of the Illinois Park’s Department was on
hand to give the Rotarians a little information about Beall’s Woods State Park.

Jacque began her talk by giving the history of the park. A man named Edward Beall (it is pronounce like
the word “bell”) married and moved from Ohio to Mt. Carmel back in 1869. He was a prominent man in
the area, starting the first bank in the county. He was also an avid environmentalist, and after buying a
large tract of land, made it known that no timber could be cleared from his property.

Through the years, he and his wife had 5 children, but only two daughters survived to adulthood. One of
those daughters, Laura, wanted the property donated to the church, but that idea fell through. She and
her father moved to Indiana, and when they both passed away, without a will, left the land to the fate of
an auction. The man who purchased the land intended to clear cut the timber and turn the property in
to farmland, but several locals, and the governor of the state of Illinois stepped in to stop that action
from happening.

Finally, in 1965, the state purchased the land and set it aside as a state park.
Currently, Beall’s Woods occupies 635 acres, of which, 329 are nature preserves. The campground is
classified as a primitive campground, since there are no electrical or water hookups, and there are no
showers on the grounds. Campers can spend the night for the low price of eight dollars per site, and can
put out two tents on each site.
The park has several hiking trails, including: The Tulip Tree Trail, which is one mile long and fairly flat.
There are other trails that are slightly more difficult, but all offer amazing views of the large species of
trees that can be found in the park. In fact, there are over 64 different types of trees within the park and
visitors can identify them using the handouts available at the visitor’s center.

Jacque related the story of a 94-year old forestry veteran who visited the park and was in such awe of
the amount and types of trees that he was nearly speechless as he walked the grounds. Later, he said
that in all of his years, he had never been able to see so many types of trees in one location.

Besides campers, Beall’s Woods entertains numerous groups throughout the year, including church
groups, school groups, and many local scouting organizations. There are also events scheduled
throughout the year. Coming up this weekend will be the “Bowls and Boards” day, combining a chili
cook-off with a corn-hole tourney. That day there will also be a fun 5K walk/run. At other times in the
year, there are fishing tournaments, hiking events, and other outdoor activities. Beall’s Woods is also
one of the few local areas that feature rainbow trout, and that season will be coming up in the spring.

The park is funded through the state of Illinois, and currently has three full-time employees. The roads
were recently upgraded, and new fire pits were added to the camping sites. The park is hoping for
enough future funding to rebuild a long bridge that is used to connect the two sides of the park, but
with the current status of Illinois’ budget, that project looks to be off in the distant future.
The park recently began publishing You-Tube videos, with the first on available on-line now. To watch
this video, search for “Welcome to Beall Woods State Park”.

Cindy Conley reminded the club that this weekend is the 100th anniversary of Mule Day in Enfield. As she
stated, Mule Day is 100 years old and still kicking! The parade will start promptly at 1:30 on Saturday.
On October 15th, the Rotarians will be holding their “drive-through” chili supper at East Side Package in
Carmi. Serving will begin at 5:00 and continue until the last bowl of chili is served. The tasty dinner will
be sold for ten dollars per quart.

President Patrick Haskell told the group that on October 30th and 31st, the Carmi Pickleball League will be
holding a tournament at Eckerle Park. The public is welcome to attend and watch this fast-growing
sport.

Finally, the club is getting ready for the return of trivia after the Covid break. This year’s fall event will be
held on Saturday, November 6th at the American Legion in Carmi. Much more information will be out
soon on this big Rotary event.

Sherri Logan won the 50/50 drawing, but wasn’t able to claim the day’s cash prize as well. Patty Mills
was named as the day’s phantom.

The Carmi Rotary Club meets every Thursday at noon at the First United Methodist Church on Main
Street in Carmi. Anyone wishing to learn more about this civic organization is welcome to attend a
meeting or speak with any Carmi Rotarian.

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