History & Geology 


The History of the Shawnee National Forest Started before the United States was a country with the Shawnee and Illinois Indian Nations 
(one Recreation Area you can see Indian Rock structures is Rim Rock).  They were remove from their land when the French and 

English Settlers arrived in large numbers in the late 17th to the early 18th century Ending with total relocation of all Indian Tribes out of Southern Illinois.
From that time until the great depression all land now in the National forest was Privatively owned, then the land was Designated as the Illini and Shawnee Purchase Units, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared these purchase units to be the Shawnee National Forest  .
    Although friends and advocates of a federally protected forest area in Illinois had tried once before, it was not untilSeptember of 1939 that the Shawnee National Forest was officially recognized as a public wilderness area.

   Most of the land added to the Forest in its first decade of existence was exhausted farmland. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, the Civilian Conservation Corps planted pine trees to prevent erosion and help rebuild the soil Theyv also Build all the Recreation Areas alot of the original rock work is still in use. 
In the 1980s and 1990s, there was an active history of conservation and protest efforts by local, regional, and national 
environmentalgroups and individuals ranging from radical movements such as Earth First! to mainstream organizations such asthe Sierra Cluband the Green Party. The wise use movement once played an active role in lobbying for its vision of the Shawnee National Forest. Today a more cooperative atmosphere has developed, although some controversy remains with a few.

In 2006, the Forest Service completed the development of a new Forest Management Plan for the Shawnee National Forest. This plan, adopted every 10–15 years, outlines the policies and practices of the U.S. Forest Service in overseeing the management of the Shawnee National Forest. The 2006 Forest Plan was completed in collaboration with many environmental and public groups and is designed to maintain and enhance the forest's unique biodiversity.  


 During the Illinoian Stage (between 352,000 to 132,000 years ago), the Laurentide ice sheet covered up to 85 percent of Illinois. The southern margin of this ice sheet was located within what is now the area of the Shawnee National Forest. There are many points of interest marking the southern edge of the glacier. Some are located within the Forest boundary, others are on public land in proximity.

Little Grand Canyon is located within the Shawnee National Forest. This is accessible off Illinois Route 127 south of Murphysboro, Illinois. A small creek with a tiny watershed has carved an impressive rock canyon, more than 200 feet deep, leading down to the Big Muddy River. The southern edge of the ice sheet was just to the north of Little Grand Canyon. Blocks of ice slid off the face of the glacier, carried by enormous volumes of meltwater, to carve this tiny canyon. In the deep shade of the canyon are relictual species of Arctic plants left over from its ancient origin.

Cedar Lake is an artificial lake formed by damming Cedar Creek. The lake is accessible off Illinois Route 127, south of Murphysboro, and off U.S. 51, south of Carbondale. In this area, the Illinoian Glacier climbed the Shawnee Hills at its southern margin. The glacier blocked the waterways flowing north down the hills. This drainage formed a creek running northwest along the face of the glacier. This became Cedar Creek, the watershed of which is extremely asymmetrical. While the watershed extends only a few thousand feet to the south, up the face of the terminal moraine, the creek is also fed by waterways extending miles to the south.

 Williams Hill at 1064 ft above sea level the Second Highest point in Illinois  is located in the eastern Forest about 4 mile west of Herod Il

Within the area of the Shawnee National Forest, but not at this time US property, is Hicks Dome, an igneous feature in 
Devils Smoke Stack
Devils Smoke Stack
Hardin County, Illinois. This was formerly speculated to be the result of a hot spot, but is now believed to be due to an extraterrestrial impact.
  The Devils Smokestack (left)  The devils smokestack is a huge pillar that formed when softer sandstone around it wash away.The Smokestack is 30 feet tall from the wedged bolder to the top and weighs over an estimated 50 tons Strange rock formations have brought people to the National Forest for Ages and there are many unique rock formations in and around Forest to be discovered many are almost untouched by the influence of man.

  Visitors to the park are from all over the United States that are looking for places to camp, hike, ride horses and enjoy the waterways of untouched Illinois Shawnee National Forest  landscape. Supporters of the forest are dedicated to keeping it preserved for human recreation as well as scientific research .

  The rich History and Geology of the forest can be preserved  with proper  management from the forest service and care from the visitors to the forest