Summer Newsletter 2021


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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. 
A lot of things have changed since last summer. More and more people are getting outdoors and enjoying all the wonderful things the Shawnee National Forest has to offer.

The Friends of the Shawnee National Forest has been busy as well.  We now have a venue for our annual fall fundraiser. We’re expanding opportunities for volunteers. And as the Friends becomes more active, we could also use some new Board members.

It’s not about us though. It’s about the Shawnee National Forest. Have fun, please be mindful when you’re outdoors. Always Leave No Trace and leave the Shawnee a better place.

Find out more information about the Shawnee National Forest at

The Forest Service welcomes Forest Supervisor Mike Chaveas

Eastern Regional Forester Gina Owens recently announced the selection of Mike Chaveas as the Shawnee National Forest’s new Forest Supervisor.

“Mike’s experience and skillset will provide direction for strengthening partnerships, implementing the recently signed Illinois Shared Stewardship Agreement and finding a balance that meets the needs of the forest and the local communities,” said Owens.
Chaveas has served with the USDA Forest Service since 2004, previously working as a District Ranger on the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon, a Deputy District Ranger on the Coconino National Forest in Arizona, and for the USDA Forest Service’s International Programs Office, coordinating technical assistance in countries throughout Africa.
Chaveas holds Masters’ degrees in Public Affairs and Environmental Science from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Science from Virginia Tech.

The Shawnee National Forest Needs You

The Friends of the Shawnee is ramping up its volunteer efforts. The Shawnee National Forest is a vast 288,000 acres of natural beauty stretched out across the southern tip of Illinois. Keeping that much land clean, in good shape and good health is a huge challenge. There are a lot of good people at the Forest Service; but with ever decreasing budgets and increased usage, they really need our–and your–help.

We are looking to bolster our volunteer program to help the Shawnee in 4 areas:

Clean Up: This involves picking up litter along trails and parking areas, but this also includes cleaning up “dumps” that are found throughout the forest– people that dump construction waste or household items.

Trail Maintenance: Leveling trail tread, removing trip hazards, getting/keeping water off the trails, and trimming back the trails.

Invasive Species Removal: There are a number of invasive species throughout the Shawnee. These plants and trees are not only unsightly but also bad for the health of the forest.

Guest Relations: We are looking to help visitors with questions and guidance. These positions may be at one of the Ranger Stations in Harrisburg, Vienna and Jonesboro or at our more visited sites like Garden of the Gods, Bell Smith, Inspiration Point, Snake Road (in season), Lake Glendale, etc.

Some volunteer work will be done in groups and individually. Most will require some training.

We are also looking for Stewardship Leaders. Leaders will be dedicated, well-trained volunteers to help lead various efforts in the one or more of the 4 above categories.

Sign up today for upcoming volunteer activities at

The Shawnee welcomes two new trails interns 

The Shawnee National Forest in partnership with the Friends of the Shawnee National Forest welcome Peters Hauser and Alissa Macuiba as the Wilderness Trail Assessment team.  Hauser and Macuiba will be hiking all designated trails in Bald Knob, Clear Springs, Bay Creek, Garden of the Gods, Lusk Creek, and Panther Den Wilderness areas.  The data collected will assist the Forest in determining if the wilderness trails are still consistent with Trail Management Objectives and are conforming to Wilderness standards, and to advance the following goals:
1) provide quality recreational opportunities to the public
2) maintain sustainable trails and recreation areas
3) address deferred maintenance issues
4) protect the natural resources.
The Trail Assessment survey provides the Forest with data that addresses protecting the wilderness character of each designated wilderness area.

Mark your calendar for upcoming trash blasts

·       9/3/2021- Bean Ridge Pond (Alexander County)

·       10/1/2021- (Pulaski or Massac County site to be determined)

·       11/5/2021- Grantsburg Swamp (Johnson County)

Registration information is forthcoming at

We’re looking for new Friends Board Members

The Friends of the Shawnee National Forest knows there are plenty out there who have a passion for the Shawnee National Forest. Maybe that’s you. We’re always looking for dedicated individuals who love the Shawnee National Forest and want to preserve and promote it. If that sounds like you, email us at,

Thank you.


Friday, Nov. 12  |  Fall Fundraiser at the Old Feed Store in Cobden.

Mark your calendar. Save the Date. We have our fall fundraiser scheduled for Friday, November 12 at the Old Feed Store in Cobden. Enjoy music from the Ivas John band and plenty of surprises. More details coming soon.

Visit our online store for maps, T-shirts and other fun stuff

Shawnee Map Bundles                                East & West Side Maps 

A six map bundle for multi-day hiking trips and exploration 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. Six waterproof maps in one bundle.
Our popular east and west side maps are perfect for your next Shawnee road trip! Visit our store at:

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

Leave it Better

Available in sand and grey in six different sizes. Only $20. See more information at

Garden of the Gods

Available in yellow and tan in six different sizes.  Only $25. See more at