Winter 2023-2024 Newsletter


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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.

Winter in the Shawnee National Forest can be magical. The fall leaves give way to spectacular views of the bluffs and other natural features. Granted, winter weather can be a wild card. Check the forecast. Know where you’re going. Bring a friend, or tell someone where you’re going. Don’t forget to bring a map and dress for the occasion. Have fun, be safe, and leave it better than you found it.

Find out more information about the Shawnee National Forest at


We’ll be Freezin’ for a Reason on March 2 


New Reroute of the River to River Trail
is in the Works

A new reroute of the famed River to River Trail along the southeast leg of Cedar Lake has begun. The reroute distance will cover approximately 4.4 miles and will wind along some of the most remote and scenic sections of the Shawnee National Forest just west of the Lirley Trailhead in Jackson County. The new design turns a 2-mile section of trail into a 4.4-mile section and addresses erosion problems the current system poses to the water supply watershed while enhancing both the safety and user experiences offered for hikers and equestrians, as well as provide a regional draw for mountain biking.  The Friends of the Shawnee National Forest is proud to be a partner with this project.

Jon R. Williams, Oct. 13, 1964 ~ Oct. 19, 2023 

The Friends of the Shawnee would like to pass along our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Jon Williams who passed away in October. Jon lived a life full of adventure. From working on dive boats in the Florida Keys, to working as a coal miner in southern Illinois, and as a trauma/critical care nurse in Emergency Departments, ICUs, Cath Labs, and with Air Evac, he had many a story to tell. The Shawnee National Forest was one of his favorite places to visit. He lived a life of love and will be missed by all who knew him.

Find out more about Jon’s wonderful life here.

The Friends celebrates
National Public Lands Day

We partnered with the River to River Trail Society and the Shawnee National Forest and picked up 161 lbs of trash throughout Garden of the Gods and removed a lot of old graffiti too! Many thanks to everyone that came out!

This is Where We Live

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
All new Saplings receive our Left it Better Decal
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.

Special Thanks to Our Ash and Elm Members

Ash Members

Tod Courtney     Steve and Tara Melville     Pat York     Thrive Dispensary

Elm Members
Rick & Marleen Steger     John Wohlwend     Kristi Weaver     Joshua Welling

Tyler Clott     Mary Blye Kramer     Joe Lenzini     Sean Collins-Stapleton 
Evan Coulson     Robin Russell     Ron Mueller     Richard Harden 
Bernard Derroitte     Charles Holmes III     Wade Halva     David W. Flenner
Justin Schmidt     Sean Emery     Tracy Emery     Gary Andrews
Shawn Gossman     Pat Jones     Stephanie Page

Shop Our Online Store

Our new Camp/khaki ball capsare just $32.50.
Our new orange ballcaps are just $27.50.
Dress in style for the total eclipse on April 8. $25 for adults and $20 for youth.
Maps are always a handy thing to have when visiting the Shawnee National Forest. East/West combos are only $20 for a limited time.
Overnight bundles of six maps are just $12. Combine with east and west side maps and save more.
Our Garden of the Gods T-shirts are available in two styles, featuring Camel Rock. $25.
Our Left it Better Than I Found it T-shirts are available in ice gray and sand colors. Only $20.

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

Copyright © 2023 Friends of Shawnee National Forest, All rights reserved.

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