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Mackinaw River State Fish & Wildlife Area

15470 Nelson Road
Mackinaw, IL 61755

309-963-4969

Area
Bisected by the picturesque river whose name it bears, Mackinaw River State Fish & Wildlife Area provides hunting, fishing, canoeing and an opportunity to interact with nature. The diverse, minimally developed area, consisting of rolling timbered hills and former farmland, is 18 miles west of Bloomington Normal and 3 miles northeast of the town of Mackinaw, between Interstate 74 and Illinois Route 9.

History
The name Mackinaw is a derivative of an Ojibwa word meaning "large turtle". Members of the Hopewell culture lived in the area 1,700 to 2,100 years ago, while the Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa also once fished, hunted and roamed along the river. In the 1960's, a non-profit Bloomington-based conservation group, the Parklands Foundation, acquired the initial acreage that was to become Mackinaw River State Fish & Wildlife Area. In 1970, the foundation offered it to the state, and subsequent acquisitions by the Department of Natural Resources have brought the total holding to 1,448 acres.

Activities

Canoeing
Three picnic areas with picnic tables and restrooms are available at Mackinaw. One of the picnic grounds is located at the canoe launch area, which is available to those who want to experience a day canoeing one of central Illinois' most scenic and pristine rivers.
 
Fishing
Superior fishing opportunities for channel catfish, small-mouth bass and flathead catfish are offered in the clear water of the Mackinaw River. Check with site personnel about bank angling opportunities at ponds.
 
Hand Trap-Shooting Range
Another picnic area is near a centrally located hand trap-shooting range
 
Hiking
The Gold Mine Trail provides 2.5 miles of hiking. For those who enjoy going off the beaten track, animal trails under the forest canopy offer hiking opportunities limited only by an individual's endurance.
 
Hunting  
Deer, squirrel, turkey, dove and upland game hunting are pursued at Mackinaw. Hunting dates and time may differ from statewide regulation; check with site personnel concerning site-specific regulations, season dates, limits and designated hunting area. All hunters must check in and out at the site office.

Hiking
The Gold Mine Trail provides 2.5 miles of hiking. For those who enjoy going off the beaten track, animal trails under the forest canopy offer hiking opportunities limited only by an individual's endurance.

Picnicking, Canoeing, Hand Trap-Shooting Range
Three picnic areas with picnic tables and restrooms are available at Mackinaw. One of the picnic grounds is located at the canoe launch area, which is available to those who want to experience a day canoeing one of central Illinois' most scenic and pristine rivers. Another picnic area is near a centrally located hand trap-shooting range. The picnic areas and their facilities are for day use only and close at sundown. No camping is permitted.

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