Newsletter Summer 2020

The Friends of the Shawnee National Forest is a nonprofit organization that supports the Shawnee National Forest by promoting land stewardship, environmental education and responsible outdoor recreation. 

Garden of the Gods and Bell Smith Springs are open.  Please plan ahead as availability for certain sites may be limited. Check for information on the Shawnee National Forest at

News about open areas in the Shawnee National Forest

Garden of the Gods and Bell Smith Springs are open.  Please plan ahead as availability for certain sites may be limited. Check for information on the Shawnee National Forest at

Friends partners with Forest Service to Study Invasive Species

Friends of the Shawnee has entered into a cost share agreement with the US Forest Service to study the effect of Non- native Invasive Species in the Shawnee National Forest.  NNIS is one of the largest threats to the Wilderness character of the Shawnee. Through this cost share agreement the effects of the impact of NNIS on wilderness areas will be better understood resulting in effective management. The area being studied are the Bay Creek and Burden Falls Wilderness areas.


Saturday, Sept. 26  |  Garden of the Gods Trash Blast 
Saturday, Oct. 3  |  Snake Road Tour and Interpretive Hike
Friday, Nov. 13  |  Fifth Annual Fundraiser

Saturday, Sept. 26 | Garden of the Gods Trash Blast

Join the Friends of the Shawnee for our fall Trash Blast to celebrate National Public Lands Day! Enjoy outstanding weather and scenery at Garden of the Gods while volunteering to help one of the most beautiful spots in the Midwest, free of trash. Participants should meet at the Observation Trail parking lot at 10 a.m. Wear long pants, sturdy shoes and bring water and a sack lunch. Gloves, trash bags and tools will be provided.

Saturday, Oct. 3 | Snake Road Tour

Join Illinois Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Biologist Scott Ballard for a guided hike along Snake Road. Learn about the variety of reptiles and amphibians that are found in this ecologically rich area. Please wear long pants, hiking shoes and bring a water bottle to this event. Participants will meet at the Winters Pond Parking area at the north end of Snake Road.

From Illinois 3 cross over the Big Muddy River bridge, take an immediate left onto Muddy Levee Road and go three miles to LaRue Road. Turn right at the T, then turn right to the Winters Pond parking area and Snake Road.

Friday, November 13 | Fifth Annual Fundaiser

The Friends of SNF will be conducting a GoFundMe campaign in the near future due to the uncertainty the pandemic brings regarding holding large gatherings in enclosed spaces. We will continue planning our November 13 event featuring Ivas John at Alto Vineyards, paying careful attention to health concerns over the coming months. This event, if we are able to have it, will not be our normal fundraiser but instead a gathering to enjoy an evening together.

Please Show Your Support For Our Mission.

East and West Side Trail Maps

These maps include every Forest Service designated trail and are a great tool for exploring the Shawnee.

You can now purchase maps at the U.S. Forest Service – Shawnee National Forest offices in Harrisburg, Vienna, and Jonesboro, as well as Shawnee Trails Wilderness Outfitters in Carbondale. If you’re from out of the area, or would rather purchase online, please visit our store at:

If you have a business that would like to carry maps, or a group that would like to buy in bulk, please contact us at

SNF Sign T-Shirt 

T-shirt with logo on front showing standard Forest Sign for Shawnee National Forest. Available in S, M, L / Green and Gray.

80th Anniversary T-shirt

Shawnee National Forest 80th Anniversary T-Shirt. Available in S, M, L, XL & XXL.

Shawnee Map Bundles 

A six map bundle for multi-day hiking trips around the Shawnee National Forest in loop trails. Locations include One Horse Gap, High Knob, Trigg Tower, Garden of the Gods, Lusk Creek and Clear Springs Wilderness. 6 maps in one bundle – waterproof.

SNF Sign Hoodie

Black hoodie featuring Shawnee National Forest sign. Available in Small and Large.

Visit our for details.  Thank you for your support.

Become a Friends of the Shawnee National Forest Member

The Friends work with the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Illinois Communities, and a host of partners to help people explore, experience, and enjoy the Shawnee National Forest.
We strive to promote volunteerism, support stewardship projects, connect people to the land, strengthen relationships, and build a legacy of the Shawnee National Forest for future generations. Help support our mission. 

Give what you can.  All levels of membership are eligible for tax deduction.  Visit our website at
Thanks very much for your support.