The Shawnee National Forest joins other federal agencies in offering fee-free days on public lands in 2013, beginning January 21, 2013, in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
That day marks the first of four fee-free days the agency — including the Forest — is offering the public in 2013.
“Your national forests and grasslands are a bargain any day of the year, but even more so on fee-free days,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Whether you stay for a few hours or a few days, your public lands are some of the best travel bargains in the nation.”
The participation in fee-free days supports the efforts of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative that aims to establish a 21st Century conservation and recreation agenda. In discussions across the nation, Americans made it clear that they want to reconnect or connect for the first time with the great outdoors – and they want the government’s help.
The 2013 free-fee days the U.S. Forest Service, including the Shawnee, will participate in are:
Jan. 21 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day; Free camping at non-reserved campsites Saturday, Jan. 19 and Sunday, Jan. 20 evenings along with free day use Jan. 19, 20 and 21.
June 8 — National Get Outdoors Day; Free camping at non-reserved campsites on Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8 along with free day use on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9.
Sept. 28 — National Public Lands Day; Free camping at non-reserved campsites on Friday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 28 with free day use on Saturday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 29.
Nov. 9 through 11 — Veterans Day Weekend; Free camping at non-reserved campsites on Saturday, Nov. 9 and Sunday, Nov. 10 along with free day use Nov. 9, 10 and 11.
The Shawnee National Forest campgrounds included in the fee waiver are as follows: Garden of the Gods, Pounds Hollow, Camp Cadiz, Pine Hill, and Johnson Creek. Please note that concessionaire operated campgrounds are not included in the fee waiver.
Administered by the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the Shawnee National Forest is one of 155 national forests nationwide. As the only national forest in Illinois, the Shawnee offers numerous avenues for connecting with the natural world through its 280,000 acres of varied landscape. Whether your interests lie more in outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking or camping, or include learning about the unique natural and cultural heritage of southern Illinois, the fields, forests and streams of the Shawnee welcome you. To discover more about the Shawnee National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/shawnee and follow them on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/shawnee. National information about the U.S. Forest Service can be found at: http://www.fs.fed.us/.