“known as a badger refuge”
Whether you visit for an afternoon or stay a few days, you will leave Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Recreation Area with many happy memories. Located in Stephenson County just west of Route 73 on Lake Road, the park is 6 miles south of the Illinois-Wisconsin state line and 3 miles north of Lena. Highlighted by a 40-acre lake and all the recreational opportunities there, the park also offers multi-use trails, picnic areas, and RV, tent, equestrian and youth group campgrounds. Developed as part of a statewide plan to provide Illinois citizens with recreational opportunities close to home, the park was started with a land acquisition program in 1948 and dedicated as a 715-acre state recreation area 10 years later. Lake Le-Aqua-Na’s name is the result of a contest sponsored by the Stephenson County Sportmans Club, one of the park’s many sponsors. The name is a combination of the town of Lena and the Latin word for water, aqua. Oak, hickory, walnut and other hardwood trees are in abundance, along with large tracts of pine plantation. A good variety of woodland wildflowers, including Dutchmans breeches, bloodroot and bluebells, cover the ground in the spring and early summer. Squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and other small animals are often seen in the wooded areas, and deer also are frequently sighted.Observant visitors might catch a glimpse of a badger. For many years, Lake Le-Aqua-Na was the only state recreation area where badgers could be seen. They have begun to populate other state recreation areas and are becoming less rare. Three engagements of the Black Hawk War took place within a few miles of the park, and a minor skirmish occurred near the park in the mid-1800s. A year after the war ended, the first permanent settler in Stephenson County, William Waddams, built a home just west of the current park site, along a trail that was to become the principal east-west route across northern Illinois for stagecoach and early automobile traffic. A small community was established and extended east into the park site.
Great hidden gem! We were one of about a dozen campers. Sites a bit close so if this ever was packed, it would be packed! Nice clean shower house. Neat hiking trails. Lake looked like a fun fishing spot. Restaurant available for those of us who forgot coffee!
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Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park
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