“wasteland turned natural wonderland”
Where in Illinois can you go running or hiking, canoeing, fishing for trout, camping, hunting or scuba diving -- all against a backdrop of breathtaking natural beauty? Kickapoo State Recreation Area near Danville in Vermilion County, that's where. The site is easily reached via Interstate 74. Once a scarred wasteland ravaged by turn-of-the-century strip-mine operations, Kickapoo State State Recreation Area's 2,842 acres now provide an outdoor playground with something to appeal to every member of the family. Twenty two deep water ponds, ranging in size from 0.2 of an acre to 57 acres, provide a total of 221 acres of water for boaters,canoeists and anglers. Lushly forested uplands and bottomlands along the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River is habitat for enough birds, wildlife and wildflowers to please any nature lover, while nature trails and running trails provide pathways to inspiration and physical fitness. If you want a less demanding excursion in the outdoors, there are facilities for camping and picnicking. Kickapoo owes its crystal clear ponds and luxuriantly forested ridges and hillsides to the regenerative powers of nature. Nearly a century of coal production using strip-mining techniques devastated the landscape. But during the past 50 years, trees and vegetation have gradually reclaimed naked ridges of subsoil, and stagnant mine ponds gradually have cleared. The park apparently was the first in the nation built on strip-mined land, and one of the first to be subsidized through public contributions. The state's initial purchase of 1,290 acres of mined lands from United Electric Coal Co. in 1939 was largely underwritten with contributions collected from Danville area residents.
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Kickapoo State Park
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