Newsletter Fall 2022


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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.
Fall in the Shawnee National Forest is dramatic with the leaves changing in a spectacular array of colors. Enjoy the beauty of Southern Illinois. Plan ahead. Check the weather, dress for the occasion, and always carry plenty of water. Not sure where you’re going? Visit our website for maps and other fun items to help remember your Shawnee National Forest adventure. Enjoy your stay and remember to leave it better than you found it.

Find out more information about the Shawnee National Forest at

We welcome two new Board Members

John Wohlwend

John Wohlwend retired from Jack Lewis Fine Jewelry as Chairman & CEO in Bloomington, Illinois in 2011. Since, then he’s been quite busy as a community volunteer both in Williamson County and the Bloomington/Normal area.
Originally from Marion, Illinois, John spent a lot of his free time from his very busy schedule along the east side of the Shawnee National Forest.
He currently spends as much time as possible in Southernmost Illinois, serving with the Friends of Giant City, Friends of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, as well as a member of the Shawnee Saunterers hiking group.

Darcy Tripod

Darcy Tripod is a senior studying Forestry at Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a specialization in forest resource management. At SIU, she’s involved with Greek Life organizations Alpha Gamma Delta, the College Panhellenic Association and Society of American Foresters. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her fiancé and her dog in the Shawnee National Forest or hanging out at a beach.

Interested in becoming
a Board Member?

Contact us at

The Friends welcomes Alyssa Macuiba

I’m originally from northern Illinois born in Minooka which is just outside of Joliet near Chicago. I attended college at SIU and fell in love with the forest. I studied Geography and Environmental Resources specializing in climate and water. After graduating, I went back up north for a few years.

I heard through a friend about Camp Ondessonk and was convinced I should apply for a seasonal job there due to my experience working with kids/the public. At camp is where I fell in love with connecting people to nature. In the summer of 2018, I received a call from the Shawnee National Forest about a seasonal trail technician position. I accepted the position and fell in love with working with my hands.

After working on a trail crew for 5 years along with multiple internships I was offered a new position. I am proudly the new Wilderness Technician & Volunteer Coordinator for the Shawnee National Forest stationed out of our Hidden Springs Ranger Station in Vienna. I am responsible for all 7 Wilderness Areas (~10% of the forest) and the main contact for our volunteers/partners.

Help us keep the Shawnee looking beautiful

National Visitor Use Monitoring 

The Friends of the Shawnee National Forest Service entered into an agreement with the United States Forest Service to help coordinate the National Visitor Use Monitoring Program. The goals of the NVUM Program are to estimate the total volume of recreation visitation to the Shawnee National Forest and describe sets of visitors, including demographics, activity participation, visit purpose, satisfaction level and spending in nearby communities. NVUM surveys began October 1 and will continue for a year. These surveys will provide reliable information about recreation sites and site visitors and will facilitate sound management practices.

Cost Share Agreement will lead to
trails upgrades along Kinkaid Lake

The Friends of the Shawnee National Forest, the Shawnee Mountain Bike Association and the U.S. Forest Service have entered into a cost share agreement to upgrade 16 miles of currently designated trails between Johnson Creek and the Crisenberry Dam at Kinkaid Lake.

The first part of this project involves an inventory of current trail conditions, identifying areas that need to be reconstructed and rerouted, and layout of reroutes. The initial groundwork will take place this fall and winter, with no actual trail construction until the fall of next year.

Friends will keep you posted on the progress of this new project..

Left it better than we found it

A group effort at Bell Smith Springs on Friday, September 2. The Friends of the Shawnee National Forest joined forces with the Shawnee Saunterers group, the U.S. Forest Service and University of Illinois Extension Office to remove about 150 pounds of trash at Bell Smith Springs.

The Friends celebrates
National Public Lands Day

Garden of the Gods Trash Blast

Saturday, September 24 was National Public Lands Day. Earlier that day Friends of the Shawnee along with River to River Trail Society members partnered at Garden of the Gods. Bill Gilmour, Shawn Gossman, Michelle Bloom, Marcus Owens, Chris Drone (pictured), Michelle Cochran, Zack and Kay removed nearly 200 pounds of trash. Shawn noted that the area looked much cleaner than usual. Our efforts are making a difference!

Pounds Hollow Trash Blast

Friends of the Shawnee and members of the Shawnee Saunterers hiking group partnered to remove trash at Pounds Hollow Recreation Area. The six participants Steve Melville, Jill File, Dave File (pictured), along with Sam Morales, Jeff Pickens and Christy Pickens removed over 125 pounds of trash.

Shop Our Online Store

Shawnee National Forest items make great gifts. Mix and match. Don’t forget a map.

Also available are Post Cards and Magnets featuring: Garden of the Gods, Inspiration Point, Little Grand Canyon, Burden Falls and Jackson Hole on our online store at

This is Where We Live

Become a Friends of the Shawnee National Forest Member

Consider becoming a new Member of the Friends of the Shawnee National Forest or renew your membership. Your support helps keep the Shawnee National Forest looking beautiful.

All members receive:

  • Our quarterly e-newsletter.
  • Emails inviting them to stewardship events such as trash blasts and trail building.
  • The satisfaction of knowing they are supporting the Friends’ mission in promoting land stewardship, environmental education, and responsible outdoor recreation in the Shawnee National Forest.

Membership Levels

Sapling – $25
Redbud – $40

New Redbud Members receive a T-shirt.
Dogwood – $75
New Dogwood Members receive a T-shirt and their choice of east side or west side trail maps of the Shawnee.
Elm – $100
New Elm Members receive a T-shirt, their choice of east side or west side trail maps and annual recognition in our e-newsletter.
Ash – $250
New Ash Members receive all everything below, plus recognition of their name or business on our website.

Visit a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, membership and donations are tax deductible.