A few years ago, I had visited Fox Ridge State Park near Charleston, Illinois. I left feeling a bit disappointed and let down. Parts of the trails were in disrepair and the campground bathrooms were falling apart. However, a few weekends ago, I met up with my blogger friend who recently started up her passion project called the Illinois Park Project. Basically the idea is to visit Illinois State Parks and help maintain them by picking up trash or doing small maintenance projects. The inaugural event was held at Fox Ridge State Park and my opinion of the park has changed!
When I pulled into the campground, I saw a lot of improvements underway. There was new rock spread in a lot of the campsites and overall the campground was really well kept. I loved the tall pine trees that shaded some of the sites.
Also, the campground showerhouse had been fixed and was very clean overall.
We all met up at one of the pavilions to start the trash clean up. We walked the fitness trail which connected two of the pavilion areas and then headed down the road to Ridge Lake.
This is a great picture of the founder of the Illinois Park Project reaching into a bog to retrieve a styrofoam bowl!! Check out Jenny the Trailhead’s blog!
We hiked a couple shorter trails and made our way back to the pavilion. Overall, our small, but mighty group picked up 18.5 pounds of trash.
Left to right, Mike with 52 Hikes With Mike, Jenny the Trailhead, Brian, husband of Jenny the Trailhead and Britany with The 11th Essential!
We then set out to hike the trails on the south side of the park. We hiked between the ravines and due to the large amount of rain that we received the previous day, the creeks were full and clear.
See that can in the picture below? Britany from The 11th Essential went in and grabbed it!
We checked out the view of the Embarras River, but the river was flooded!
We headed up the large staircase to the overlook.
Overall, this was such a great day. I am happy to see some improvements being made to Illinois state parks, but there is still work to do.
It feels great to give back to nature when I feel like it has given me so much already. Hike on!