Natural Views - Southern Scenic Byway
Explore the southern half of the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway. The following eight points of interest best illustrate the natural intrinsic quality along the byway and its many diverse facets.
Lakeland Park - Located north of Canton, this park offers five lakes, hard-surfaced walking/biking trails, boat launching facilities, fishing piers, and "catfish feeding" for its guests, not to mention the chance to view meadowlarks, Red-winged Blackbirds, American Woodcocks and the park's terrain of tallgrass prairie habitat.
Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area - Owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, this area features freshwater marshes, shallow lakes and deep water habitat. This site serves as a major holding area for migrating waterfowl, Bald Eagles and the exotic Mute Swan, along with many songbirds. An abundance of vegetation blooms at Banner Marsh, including the American lotus and swamp milkweed.
The Nature Conservancy Emiquon Preserve - Nearly 7,000-acres and is one of the largest wetland restoration projects in the entire United States. Scientists believe that beneath the acres of plowed cropland lies a dormant seed bank of prairie, hardwood forest and aquatic plants just waiting for re-exposure to natural elements.
Dickson Mounds Museum - As one of the major on-site archeological museums in the country, this museum allows visitors the opportunity to experience the Illinois River Valley as it was thousands of years ago. The ecology of this region is also interpreted. Enjoy the resource center, observation decks and gift shop!
Havana's Riverfront Park - This Park is a relaxing, refreshing stop for wildlife watchers. Catch a glimpse at the various birds that inhabit the area, including Ring-billed Gulls, Swallows and Chimney Swifts.
Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge - Owned and operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, this refuge contains an oak-hickory forest, riparian forest, floodplain shrub, marsh and open lake. This is a great birding site!
Jake Wolf Memorial Fish Hatchery - A unique facility dedicated to the housing of 42 million fish annually for stocking of public and private waters. The hatchery's Visitors Center contains several observation outlooks and guided tours to visitors are available.
Sand Ridge State Forest - This State Forest is unique to Illinois due to the vast amount of sand deposited from melt-waters of the last Ice Age, which have since been sculpted into massive dunes. Sand prairie inhabitants, such as Red-breasted Nuthatch, American Goldfinch
and Yellow-billed Cuckoos, among many others, fill this area.