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. 


The season of wither gives rise to the season of renewal. Here’s to getting out more and exploring the Shawnee National Forest. And there’s a lot going on. The biggest thing being the total eclipse on Monday, April 8. 

Lots of new stewardship projects and a Kid’s Fishing Derby next May are in the works. We hope to see you on the Shawnee. 

Find out more information about the Shawnee National Forest at

RIP Tom Sadowski

We’re saddened by the passing of former Chair of the Friends of the Shawnee National Forest Tom Sadowski this last Sunday, March 3.

Tom was a doer. He brought a lot of energy to the position and led by example. It’s safe to say he saved the Friends of the Shawnee and helped strengthen relationships, not only with the Shawnee National Forest, but the many organizations and stakeholders who help us live up to our mission statement.

Our prayers and condolences are with his widow Shari Sweeney and their family.
His obituary, information on a memorial, and the requests of the family can be found at the link below.…/ThomasTom…
See you on the trail, dear friend.

Info on the Eclipse and
Where to Purchase a Really Cool T-shirt 

The second total eclipse in just seven years in Southern Illinois is less than a month away. Dozens of spots in the Shawnee National Forest are within the totality. 

YOu can visit the Shawnee National Forest website for detailed information, here

The Shawnee National Forest is providing information regarding camping information for this celestial event. To see an interactive map of camping options, click here

Eclipse T-shirts are available in adult and youth sizes  at the US Forest Service offices in Harrisburg, Vienna and Jonesboro, or visit our online store hereHurry! Supplies are limited. .

Polar Plunge Recap 

The 3rd annual Shawnee Polar Plunge was a full day of fun. It began with an interpretive hike from Pounds Hollow to Rim Rock and back. We had a food truck courtesy of Leave it to Chef. Live music from John West. A beach volleyball court. An ongoing cornhole tournament.

And of course, dozens of brave and hearty souls took a plunge into Pounds Hollow Lake.  The proceeds were split between the Friends of the Shawnee Forest and the Equality Fire Department.  A good time was had by all. Visit our Facebook page for more photos and videos.

Left it Better than We Found it

Thanks to everyone who spent part of their March 1 with us at Dutchman Lake.  Together we picked up 333lbs of trash, including two tires, a bed mattress, a metal door jam, a pot and pan cooking set, and filled six bags with trash.
The next trash blast will be at Tower Rock on Friday, April 12 from 1-3 p.m.  This site is in Hardin County, near Elizabethtown and on the Ohio River.  Not to be confused with Grand Tower on the Mississippi River.
Upcoming First Friday trash blasts include Bean Ridge (Alexander County) on Friday, May 3 and Ripple Hollow (Union County) on June 7.
A partnership between University of Illinois Extension, the United States Foret Service and the Friends of the Shawnee National Forest.
 If you would like to continue to help us keep our forest clean, please think about signing up for more Trash Blasts, by clicking here
If you are looking for other activities to participate in with this group, check out our Garlic Mustard Pulls in April and May.

Garlic Mustard is one on several nonnative invasive species present in the Shawnee National Forest. 

This plant spreads its seeds in the wind and gains a foothold in fields and forests by emerging earlier in spring than many native plants. By the time native species are ready to grow, garlic mustard has blocked their sunlight and outcompeted them for moisture and vital nutrients.

The Garlic Mustard pulls will be followed by a botany hike. Help make a difference and leave things better in the great Shawnee. 

Leave No Trace Spotlight
Coming to the Shawnee


Update on New Trail Constuction

A reroute of the famed River to River Trail is taking place along the southeast corner of Cedar Lake in Jackson County. Approximately two miles of this 4.4 reroute has been completed. The new section will run along north along Cedar Lake and cross Mill Creek and Clay Lick Creek. 
Meanwhile, a new trail system is also being constructed along the western edge of Lake Kinkaid, also in Jackson County. Eventually, this trail section will include approximately 16 miles of trails and connect Quisenberry Dam and to the Johnson Creek area. 

This is Where We Live

If not interested now in becoming a member, consider volunteering during our upcoming service projects in 2024. 

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.


or send to:
          Friends of the Shawnee National Forest
          P.O. Box 612 Carbondale, IL 62903

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

Visit our online store for maps,
T-shirts and more

2024 Eclipse T-shirts

Our 2024 Eclipse T-shirts are available in adult sizes ($25) and youth ($15).

Also available at the US Forest Service Offices at Harrisburg, Vienna and Jonesboro.