Want to get the family out to explore nature? Starved Rock State Park in Utica, IL has programs over the next two weekends that are sure to get them out the door.

Happy Trails Day!

Celebrate National Trails Day on June 3 by joining the Leave No Trace campaign at Starved Rock State Park for fun activities among the trails, canyons and waterfalls. Event stations will be open from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. along the main trail sidewalk that leads past the Visitor Center and will be hosted by the National Leave No Trace Campaign, Boy Scouts of America, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Starved Rock Lodge, Starved Rock Foundation, Illinois Horsemen’s Association, Illinois Conservation Police, Kayak Starved Rock, Starved Rock Hikers and Illinois Learn to Hunt.

As outdoor areas across the nation are being used in record numbers, this new initiative from Leave No Trace spotlights communities that are working to meet this challenge with multi-day, onsite education and stewardship programs. From June 3-4, a Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Team will be in Utica, IL at Starved Rock State Park to work with members of the community and local land agencies to offer Leave No Trace education and collaborate on restoration and stewardship projects. Sites are nominated for the Leave No Trace Spotlight initiative by local land agencies or community groups. The initiative’s goal is to give each Spotlight area enough relevant Leave No Trace tools to address the user impact issues the site is facing and to foster healthy lands and people. The park was one of 20 sites nationwide chosen for the community conservation initiative.

“The Spotlight initiative highlights the great steps a community can take to protect an area that they cherish,” according to Dana Watts, the Executive Director of Leave No Trace. “The three-day Spotlight features workshops for stakeholders and Leave No Trace education for the public at large. It also will include opportunities for the community and our Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Team, who will be there conducting the initiative, to roll up their sleeves together at the Spotlight site and get some work done.”

For more information On Starved Rock State Park, click here. For more information on Leave No Trace, click here.

A Salamander Story

Kids can learn everything they ever wanted to know about salamanders through a storybook, crafts, activities and a short hike on Saturday, June 10, at 9:30 a.m. This program is geared towards kids ages 3-10 and their adults. Email Lisa Sons, park naturalist, to register at lisa.sons@illinois.gov.

All IDNR/state park programs are free but donations to the Starved Rock Foundation are welcome. Most programs at the park are funded through donations to the Starved Rock Foundation, the not-for-profit friends’ group at the park (not to be confused with the Starved Rock Community Foundation). The park is administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, whose goal is to manage, conserve and protect Illinois’ natural, recreational and cultural resources, expand the public’s understanding and appreciation of them and support the education, science and public safety of Illinois’ natural resources.