The Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area is located 6 miles north of the Interstate 74 exit at Oakwood in Vermilion County. The area consists of 2,700 acres of grass, forest and cropland, and provides excellent wildlife habitat. The area is bounded on the east by Kennekuk Cove County Park and on the south by Illinois Power Company's Vermilion Station. The site received its name from the Middle Fork branch of the Vermilion River which flows between Kennekuk Cove County Park and Middle Fork State Fish & Wildlife Area. The Middle Fork River passes out of the Middle Fork Wildlife Area into Kickapoo State Recreation Area about 10 miles downstream. At Kickapoo you can enjoy family camping, picnicking, fishing, boating, mountain biking and rent a horse for a short trail ride.
The Middle Fork River offers the angler opportunities for such species as smallmouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, crappie, channel catfish, walleye and bullhead. Access to the river is by footpaths at Kinney's Ford, Higginsville Bridge and Bunker Hill.
Large populations of upland game make the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area popular with many hunters. Generally, federal and Illinois game regulations regarding seasons, bag limits and huntable species apply in all parts of the park. However, special regulations apply to some species. All hunters must register before hunting the area.
There are 35 miles of marked scenic equestrian, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling trails in the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area, and 9 miles of designated hiking trails are available at nearby Kickapoo State Park. All marked trails are accessible from the parking lot near the office at 2400N, just off Road 900E.
Public parking and canoe access to the Middle Fork River is provided at two locations. The Kinney's Ford access is located in the northern section of the facility and may be reached by driving 0.5 mile west of the 2620N/900E intersection. The Bunker Hill canoe access may be reached by driving east on the facility's south access road located at 2250N/900E. The west entrance bridge at Kickapoo State Park provides a canoe take-out point for these access areas. Camping is prohibited along the river, except in designated campgrounds.
Small day-use areas are located near the campgrounds, office and canoe accesses, providing picnic tables and rustic sanitary facilities. Canoeists, hikers and anglers also may prefer to picnic along the river or trails. Properly dispose of all litter. Shelters cannot be reserved, they are available on a first come-first served basis.
The Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife area has Class C, D and equestrian camping facilities. Other classes of camping also are available at nearby Kickapoo State Park. The state park facilities are readily accessible from the Kickapoo canoe take-out point at the park's west entrance. Kickapoo is located 5 miles south of the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area.
Trap Range and Archery Trail
To help hunters sharpen their skills and provide compatible recreational opportunities, a trap range and an archery trail have been constructed. The trap range is located along road 2400N near the site office. It consists of two ranges with a table and bench. Throwers are not provided. Shot size No. 6 or smaller must be used. The range usually is open year-round. The archery trail is located 0.25 miles west of intersection 2620N/900E. The trail includes 20 targets constructed in a loop through the woods, a tower for simulated tree stand shooting and a measured target. The use of broadhead tips is not allowed. The trail is open year-round.
Both ranges have picnic tables and rustic sanitary facilities available.
Wildlife Management Practices
The Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area has a planned wildlife program which includes a cropland lease agreement with local farmers. The program also emphasizes forestry practices compatible with good wildlife management.
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