Tag Archive | IDNR

Illinois State Beach Park ~ What a View!!

Last weekend we went to Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois State Beach Park to camp. We got right in since many folks weren’t thinking about swimming in May… at least not here. Lake Michigan doesn’t get warm enough for swimming until early July. We did walk by the beach and I could walk with my toes in the water, for a short time. No more of me was going in! Brrr.

This is a IDNR (Illinois Deptment of Natural Resources) park, one of the most protected areas in Illinois. I love coming here, as there is such a diversity of plants, animals, birds and insects. We also had a great view of the dormant Zion nuclear plant. Awesome…?

General Information and History

This area is 4,160 acres and has a recorded 650 plus different plant species. Long recognized for its unique geological features, native flora and unmatched beauty, the Lake Michigan dunes area originally was, in the 1700s, part of the “Three Fires” of the Algonquin Nation: the Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa.

This area was slated to be a preserve as early as 1888, when Robert Douglas, a Waukegan nurseryman, and Jens Jensen, a famous landscape architect (If you live/visit Chicago, you’ve seen a lot of his work), worked together to make the area a regional park. With the threat of industry progressing from the south and sand mining ravaging nearby dunes, legislative efforts to save the area finally began in the 1920s.

In 1948, the state obtained the first parcels of what is now known as Illinois Beach State Park. The Illinois Dunes Preservation Society was established in 1950 to protect the area. Through its efforts and the determinations of the Department of Conservation, in 1964 the area south of Beach Road was dedicated as the first Illinois Nature Preserve.

This area is unique, as it is a sand dune area and the rest of Illinois is nothing like it. I was on the hunt for Opuntia – Prickly pear & Juniperus horizontalis – Trailing juniper, both of these are native to this area. In 1804, explorers Lewis and Clark noted that trailing juniper “would make a handsome edging to the borders of a garden”.

Our bedroom is in the back of the camper and furnished with a large window to gaze out of. You can barely see it to the right of the photo, however there is a small window right where my head is. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have a window less than 3″ inches from your face. The fresh, night air is wonderful to sleep by.

The real view, not through the window. Lake Michigan.

     

We were back to balancing rocks. Here’s a simple one that took a bit of patience.  ||  I don’t think anyone was home.

This is the coolest thing. It’s an ice fishing house, that’s also a travel trailer! It’s on hydraulics and lowers to the ground / ice for fishing. So neat.

As far back as 1982, the federal government began collecting a nuclear-waste fee, paid by electricity users through fees tacked on to their bills and earmarked to pay for disposal of the radioactive spent fuel rods. Starting in 1998, the U.S. Department of Energy was supposed to start picking up spent fuel rods and taking them for storage, according to Everett Redmond, senior director of fuel cycle and technology policy for the Nuclear Energy Institute, a power industry trade group. But there was no ready storage option to hold them. So power companies were forced to store more and more of them at their own facilities and eventually successfully sued to recover costs for this storage.  Chicago Sun-Times 2017

Someone likes to dig.

     

We keep trying to outdo each other on the rock stacking. Well played husband, well played.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois State Beach Park – Part Deux

We were back to camp at Illinois State Beach Park.

This area is a very different area than anywhere else in Midwest. The plants are very unique and were fun to find.
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Juniperus horizontalis – Creeping Juniper
In 2006, creeping juniper was listed as endangered in Illinois.

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Right up there, crawling through the sand… In Illinois!!

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Small white flower = Moehringia laterfolia ~ Bluntleaf sandwort

The white spiky plant is a mystery. I’m not even sure where to start =O It’s killing me tho… someone save me?!?

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Looking North towards Milwaukee…

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Looking South towards Chicago…

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I’ll link a later post here about these rocks…

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Not a rock a moss ball!

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Zion nuclear power plant. Still standing… It was supposed to be gone in 2014.

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Umm, I’m no engineer, however I wouldn’t use this ramp.

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More juniper… creeping.

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Breck and Lake Michigan

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Old beach house.

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Lupine, lupine everywhere!

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Asparagus!

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Red-Wing blackbird

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Opuntia – Prickly pear – The fruit is edible. Pretty kewl eh, Cacti in Illinois!

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© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Camping at Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois State Beach Park

About the Area:

This weekend we went to Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois State Beach Park to camp for the first time. This is a IDNR (Illinois Dept. Natural Resources) park, one of the most protected areas in Il. It’s located in Zion, kinda a rough neighborhood, but you don’t even realize where you are after entering the park. We also had a great view of the dormant Zion nuclear plant. Awesome…?

This area is 4,160 acres and has a recorded 650+ different plant species. Long recognized for its unique geological features, native flora and unmatched beauty, the Lake Michigan dunes area originally was, in the 1700s, part of the “Three Fires” of the Algonquin Nation: the Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa.

This area was slated to be a preserve as early as 1888, when Robert Douglas, a Waukegan nurseryman, and Jens Jensen, a famous landscape architect (If you live/visit  Chicago, you’ve seen a lot of his work), worked together to make the area a regional park. With industry progressing from the south, sand mining ravaging the dunes and parts of the surrounding rural area succumbing to pasture and homesteads, legislative efforts to save the area finally began in the 1920s.

In 1948, the state obtained the first parcels of what is now known as Illinois Beach State Park. The Illinois Dunes Preservation Society was established in 1950 to protect the area. Through its efforts and the determinations of the Department of Conservation, in 1964 the area south of Beach Road was dedicated as the first Illinois Nature Preserve.

This area is unique, as it is a sand dune area, and the rest of Illinois is nothing like it. I was on the hunt for Opuntia – Prickly pear & Juniperus horizontalis – Trailing juniper, both of these are native to this area. In 1804, explorers Lewis and Clark noted that trailing juniper “would make a handsome edging to the borders of a garden”

Our Weekend:

The weather was bleak, raining Friday, blustery Saturday until noon when we took our walk, and 41F at 10 pm, when the roaring fire couldn’t keep us warm.

It was also our first trip ‘dry camping’ or there is no H2O hookup, so we had to fill our 40 gallon tank before we left. Turns out, they had good city water being piped in where we could have filled here, but when the water supply is questionable, byow.

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Site #248. Great large, well shaded site.

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Yup, our bad, forgot about the raccoons. Luckily they were able to open zippers instead of chew threw things. They did nibble a bit though. Breck in the back ground.

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No alcohol, pets, ass or fires… NO FUN!!! But wait! There’s asbestos?!? Now it’s a party!

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The old beach house.

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The old Zion nuclear power plant. It’s been closed 25 years & is supposed to be completely removed by 2014. No nuclear material is supposed to be there.

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A shot from the other side. They still do have a security checkpoint. We also found a geocache right here.

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Honestly, we were bored with this part of the walk.

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I’m guessing this is something cool, but not sure what it is… Thoughts anyone?

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I thought this was strawberry, but it didn’t look right. I’ve got strawberry all over my yard. I now think it’s Rubus Flagellaris – Common Dewberry

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Morel mushroom – Didn’t know it was edible until I googled. Noted for later!! This was in a R.O.W.

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Polygonatum – Solomon’s Seal

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Stumped? – Anyone have any thoughts?

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Equisetum – horsetail, snake grass or puzzlegrass

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Opuntia – Prickly pear – The fruit is edible. Pretty kewl eh, Cacti in Illinois!

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Looking north, up Lake Michigan.

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Juniperus horizontalis – Creeping Juniper
In 2006, creeping juniper was listed as endangered in Illinois.

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Geocache!
We’re sorta private people and don’t post photos on-line, but we use our wedding rings (dogs also) as talisman for logging photo geocaches.

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Rain-

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bow! It was parallel to the beach. Gorgeous!

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The deer eye-balled us, but didn’t really care that we were there.

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Oammmmm.

If you can get out here to camp or even a walk, I recommend it!!

Enjoy the day & keep on planting!
Ilex

Utica, Illinois – Hickory Hollow Campground

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Good Morning! My loving husband in front of his ‘Man Stove’ cooking breakfast.

Hickory Hollow is one of our favorite campgrounds. It’s near The Illinois Valley area in Utica, Illinois which is about 2 hours southwest from my home.
Our take along home is a 27′ Zinger travel trailer we purchased in 2011. We call it the ‘Farrell Dog Haus’ or when money is tight for the mortgage… I call it ‘Plan B’. Ha.

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Here’s the inside! Our kitchen/living areas. Breck is on the couch on the right, Oreo is under the table on the left.

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Looking back towards the head & bedroom areas.

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The Pecumsaugan Creek runs throw the campground. We’ve never seen it this high. That white oak is just hanging on to the bank.

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Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s breeches) This is in the bleeding heart family

The Illinois Valley area has many unique geological features which set it apart from other Illinois geology. This area has a limestone base and the Illinois, Fox & Vermillion rivers all join up.  Luckily, the truly beautiful areas are protected by having state forest IDNR (Illinois Department of Natural Resources) status.

More to come in another post about the Starved Rock State Park.

Enjoy the day & keep on planting!
© Ilex Farrell