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Local Business Spotlight: Shawnee National Forest

My name is Suzanne Hirsh, Public Affairs Specialist for Shawnee National Forest. Administered by the USDA Forest Service, the Shawnee National Forest is one of 155 national forests in the United States and the only national forest in Illinois.

What does your business do?

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. In short, our mission is “Caring for the Land and Serving People”.

What do you love most about doing business in Southern Illinois?

Our employees are passionate about taking care of a beautiful national forest in the heart of the Midwest. Visitors will enjoy a small town, rural atmosphere wherever they go, but still, be within a days’ drive of six major cities. The Shawnee National Forest is a focal point of the region and is known as a hidden gem of the Midwest.

What’s one thing visitors to your business might be surprised to know?

During the early years of forming, the Shawnee National Forest was divided into two land units, called Shawnee and Illini. Before designation, it was decided to combine them and call it the Shawnee National Forest. By the mid-1920s people had cleared the forestlands in southern Illinois, selling it or utilizing the wood for building materials in their everyday life. Much of the topsoils had eroded and were unproductive. Since then the Forest Service has restored the lush forest and continues to manage the land for enjoyment today and for future generations.

What do you deliver to your customers that give them a positive experience?

We have 287,000 acres open for exploration and relaxation. We offer a variety of recreation opportunities; from camping and hiking to scenic driving and historic sites; that one can enjoy in a beautiful natural setting that is ever-changing with the season. The Shawnee National Forest is the ideal urban getaway!

For more information on Shawnee National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/shawnee

Find a place to stay at Shawnee Wine Trail Lodging Association.

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