In September 1939, it was declared as the Shawnee National Forest when the purchase units of Illini and Shawnee were combined together to create the Forest. The Forest has seven officially designated wilderness areas that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System – Bald Knob Wilderness, Bay Creek Wilderness, Burden Falls Wilderness, Clear Springs Wilderness, Garden of the Gods Wilderness, Lusk Creek Wilderness and Panther Den Wilderness.
Interestingly, most of the land brought under the Forest area was exhausted farmland and during the 1930s and 1940s, several pine trees were planted to prevent erosion and to help rebuild the soil. The forest also has several hardwood trees and other animal and plant species, which are common to this area.
In the 1980s and 1990s, several ecological conservation groups and environmental groups/movements stressed upon the need for a more pro-active approach to build up the forest area. Emanating from such moves, the Forest Service in 2006, in co-ordination with the environmental and public groups completed the development of a new Forest Management Plan for the Shawnee National Forest, which outlines the policies and practices which will be followed in the management of the forest over the next 10-15 years for maintaining and enhancing the forest’s unique bio-diversity. The Vision Statement encompasses protecting the eco-system in coordination with all concerned citizens and groups.
There are several places of interest in and around the Shawnee National forest including - Little Grand Canyon (carved out by a tiny creek with a water-shed has carved out an impressive rock canyon, more than 200 feet deep), Big Muddy River (the Canyon leads down to this river), Cedar Lake (an artificial lake formed by damming the Cedar Creek) and Hicks dome (which is an igneous feature in Hardin County, Illinois, which is considered to be the result of a meteorite strike eons ago.
The Little Missouri River flows through all 3 Units of the Park. Likewise, the Maah Daah trail connects all three Units.
1) America the Beautiful Quarters - 2010 (the start of the Programme)
2) America the Beautiful Quarters - 2011
3) America the Beautiful Quarters - 2012
4) America the Beautiful Quarters - 2013
5) America the Beautiful Quarters - 2014
6) State Commemorative Quarters
7) America the Beautiful Quarters - 2015
8) The Great Seal of the USA & prominent mottoes
9) Native American Dollar Coin Programme
10) American Eagle Gold Coins
11) American Buffalo Gold Coins
12) Susan Anthony Dollar
13) US Bicentennial Coins
14) Westward Journey Nickel Series
15) Commemorating 225 Years of US Marshals Serivce
16) Forever Stamps : US Civil War 1861-65
17) The New US $100 Bill
18) The Strange Case of my becoming a US Citizen without even applying for it , thanks to the US Mint