A natural monument is a natural or natural/cultural feature of outstanding or unique value because of its inherent rarity, representative of aesthetic qualities or cultural significance. Under World Commission on Protected Areas guidelines, natural monuments are level III, described as: "Areas are set aside to protect a specific natural monument, which can be a landform, sea mount, submarine cavern, geological feature such as a cave or a living feature such as an ancient grove, they are quite small protected areas and have high visitor value."This is a lower level of protection than level II and level I. The European Environment Agency's guidelines for selection of a natural monument are: The area should contain one or more features of outstanding significance. Appropriate natural features include waterfalls, craters, fossil beds, sand dunes and marine features, along with unique or representative fauna and flora; the area should be large enough to protect the integrity of the feature and its related surroundings.
Natural monument signs selection IUCN Protected Area Management Categories: Category III Natural Monument or Feature U. S. National Monument World Conservation Union A-Z of Areas of Biodiversity Importance: Natural Monument or Feature Natural Monuments in Brazil
National Trails System
The National Trails System was created by the National Trails System Act, codified at 16 U. S. C. § 1241 et seq. The Act created a series of National trails "to promote the preservation of, public access to, travel within, enjoyment and appreciation of the open-air, outdoor areas and historic resources of the Nation." The Act authorized three types of trails: the National Scenic Trails, National Recreation Trails and connecting-and-side trails. The 1968 Act created two national scenic trails: the Appalachian and the Pacific Crest. In 1978, as a result of the study of trails that were most significant for their historic associations, a fourth category of trail was added: the National Historic Trails. Since 1968, over forty trail routes have been studied for inclusion in the system. Of these studied trails, twenty-one have been established as part of the system. Today, the National Trails System consists of 30 National Scenic and Historic Trails and over 1,000 National Recreation Trail and two connecting-and-side trails, with a total length of more than 50,000 miles.
These National Trails are more than just for hiking, many are open for horseback riding, mountain biking, camping and/or scenic driving. As Congressionally established long-distance trails, each one is administered by a federal agency, either the Bureau of Land Management, United States Forest Service, or National Park Service. Two of the trails are jointly administered by the BLM and the NPS; these agencies acquire lands to protect key sites and viewsheds. More than not, they work in partnership with the states, local units of government, land trusts and private landowners, to protect lands and structures along these trails, enabling them to be accessible to the public. National Recreation Trails and connecting-and-side trails do not require Congressional action, but are recognized by actions of the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture. All of the National Trails are supported by private non-profit organizations that work with the various federal agencies under the Partnership for the National Trails System.
The Act is codified as 16 U. S. C. §§ 1241–1251. However, it has been amended numerous times since its passage, most on October 18, 2004. National Scenic Trails are established to provide access to spectacular natural beauty and to allow the pursuit of healthy outdoor recreation; the National Scenic Trail system provides access to the crest of the Appalachian Mountains in the east, on the Appalachian Trail, to the Rocky Mountains of the west on the Continental Divide Trail. These provide access to viewing the subtle beauties of the southern wetlands and Gulf Coast on the Florida Trail, wandering the North Woods from New York to North Dakota on the North Country Trail, or experiencing the vast diversity of landscapes of the southwest on the Arizona National Scenic Trail. Of the eleven national scenic trails, Natchez Trace, Potomac Heritage are official units of the NPS. National Historic Trails are designated to protect the remains of significant overland or water routes to reflect the history of the nation.
They represent the earliest travels across the continent on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. They commemorate the forced displacement and hardships of the Native Americans, on the Trail of Tears. There are 19 Historic Trails. Most of them are scenic routes instead of non-motorized trails. National Historic Trails were authorized under the National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978, amending the National Trails System Act of 1968 The act established a category of trails known as connecting and side trails. To date, only two national side trails have been designated, both in 1990: The Timms Hill Trail, which connects the Ice Age Trail to Wisconsin's highest point, Timms Hill, the 86-mile Anvik Connector, which joins the Iditarod Trail to the village of Anvik, Alaska. Timms Hill Trail Anvik Connector The first National Geologic Trail was established by the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail National Historic Trails Interpretive Center Recreational Trail Program Protected areas of the United States List of long-distance footpaths Long-distance trails in the United States Karen Berger, Bill McKibben & Bart Smith: America's Great Hiking Trails: Appalachian, Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, North Country, Ice Age, Potomac Heritage, Natchez Trace, Pacific Northwest, New England.
Rizzoli, 2014, ISBN 978-0789327413 About the Partnership for National Trails System PNTS Find a Trail Historic Trail Facts National Trails System Text of the National Trails System Act
Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge
The Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Illinois River and the Mississippi River in parts of Calhoun and Greene counties in Illinois, St. Charles County, Missouri, it is managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge Complex; as of 2009, the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge consists of five separate parcels of riverine bottomland wetlands grouped in and around the confluence of the Illinois and the Mississippi Rivers. The region is noted for its population of bald eagles; the refuge is 8,501 acres in size. Its headquarters is located in the Calhoun County municipality of Illinois; this article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Official site
Henry County, Illinois
Henry County is a county located in the U. S. state of Illinois. The 2010 United States Census, listed its population at 50,486, its county seat is Cambridge. Henry County is included in IA-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area. Henry County was formed on January 1825 out of Fulton County, Illinois, it is named for Patrick Henry, Revolutionary War firebrand and champion of individual rights, to whom the slogan "give me liberty, or give me death" is attributed. The county was settled by people from New England and western New York, descendants of English Puritans who settled New England in the colonial era; the New England settlers founded the five towns of Andover, Geneseo, Morristown and La Grange. The settlement of Cambridge came about in 1843, when the owner of the land in that area dedicated a section of his properties to a town council; the incoming "Yankee" settlers made Henry County culturally similar to early New England culture. According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 826 square miles, of which 823 square miles is land and 2.7 square miles is water.
It is the 29th largest of Illinois' 102 counties. The area is flat, with elevations ranging from 650 feet above sea level in the northwest to 850 in the southeast. About 456,596 acres or 86.7% of the county's land area, is used for agriculture. In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Cambridge have ranged from a low of 13 °F in January to a high of 86 °F in July, although a record low of −24 °F was recorded in February 1996 and a record high of 103 °F was recorded in July 1983. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.52 inches in January to 4.32 inches in August. As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 50,486 people, 20,373 households, 14,149 families residing in the county; the population density was 61.3 inhabitants per square mile. There were 22,161 housing units at an average density of 26.9 per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 94.8% white, 1.6% black or African American, 0.4% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 1.6% from other races, 1.4% from two or more races.
Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.8% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 30.0% were German, 14.6% were Irish, 12.3% were Swedish, 11.5% were English, 7.2% were American. Of the 20,373 households, 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.9% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 30.6% were non-families, 26.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.92. The median age was 41.8 years. The median income for a household in the county was $49,164 and the median income for a family was $61,467. Males had a median income of $44,589 versus $30,992 for females; the per capita income for the county was $24,915. About 6.8% of families and 10.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.9% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over. Annawan Atkinson Kedron Oxford Saxon Henry County's political history is typical of many Yankee-settled rural counties in Illinois.
After being Democratic in its first few elections, the county turned powerfully Republican for the 110 years following the formation of that party. The only time it did not vote Republican between 1856 and 1960 was in 1912 when the GOP was mortally divided and Progressive Theodore Roosevelt won a majority of the county's ballots. In 1964, when the Republican Party nominated the Southern-oriented Barry Goldwater, Henry County voted Democratic for the first time since 1852, but as was typical for Yankee counties it returned to the Republicans with the selection of the more moderate Richard Nixon. In the 1980s, the transition of the Republican Party into a party based around Southern Evangelicals alienated its historic Yankee base: Henry County turned to Democrat Michael Dukakis in 1988, voted Democratic in every election between 1988 and 2012 except that of 2004 when George W. Bush carried the county by 5.1 percent. However, concern with unemployment in the “Rust Belt” resulted in a powerful swing to Republican Donald Trump in 2016 – the worst Democratic result in the county since Jimmy Carter in 1980.
National Register of Historic Places listings in Henry County, Illinois Official website U. S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Henry County, Illinois Henry County Tourism Bureau Illinois Ancestors Henry County Henry County Historical Society
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is a route across the United States commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806. It is part of the National Trails System of the United States, it extends for some 3,700 miles from Wood River, Illinois, to the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon. The trail is administered by the National Park Service, but sites along the trail are managed by federal land management agencies, local and private organizations; the trail is not a hiking trail, but provides opportunities for hiking and horseback riding at many locations along the route. The trail is the second longest of the 23 National National Historic Trails. Beginning at the Camp Dubois recreation in Illinois, it passes through portions of Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Idaho and Washington; the official headquarters for the trail is located at the National Park Service Midwest Regional Headquarters, in Omaha, Nebraska. The visitor center features exhibits about the explorers and their historic trip, as well as information about sites along the trail.
In 1948 the National Park Service proposed a "Lewis and Clark Tour-way" along the Missouri River from St. Louis to Three Forks, Montana. Jay "Ding" Darling proposed the development of the expedition route as a recreational trail. Following a 1966 report by the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, the National Trails System Act of 1968 listed the route for study as a possible National Scenic Trail. In 1978 the law was amended by the National Parks and Recreation Act to provide for a new category of trail, National Historic Trails, one of, to be the Lewis and Clark trail. From 2003 to 2006, the National Park Service commemorated the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with the Corps of Discovery II traveling exhibit. Bassman, John H.. A navigation companion for the Lewis & Clark Trail. Volume 1, camp locations and daily summaries of expedition activities. United States: John H. Bassman. National Park Service. Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Comprehensive Plan for Management and Use. United States: United States Department of the Interior.
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation Lewis and Clark Trust lewisandclarktrail.org
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is a tallgrass prairie reserve and United States National Grassland operated by the United States Forest Service. The first national tallgrass prairie designated in the U. S. and the largest conservation site in the Chicago Wilderness region, it is located on the site of the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant between the towns of Elwood and Wilmington in northeastern Illinois. Since 2015, it has hosted a conservation herd of American bison to study their interaction with prairie restoration and conservation; the tallgrass prairie reserve is in the central forest-grasslands transition ecoregion of the temperate grasslands and shrublands biome. Midewin remains the only federal tallgrass prairie preserve east of the Mississippi River, where surviving areas of that habitat are rare. With the adjacent Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area and a number of other state and county protected areas in the immediate area, Midewin forms the heart of a conservation macrosite totaling more than 40,000 acres of protected land.
The pre-European settlement vegetation map of Midewin shows most of the site was prairie prior to the arrival of European settlers. The northwestern corner of the site along Jackson Creek was forest. Another small, forested area existed in the extreme southwest corner of Midewin along the Kankakee River and Prairie Creek. Several not-for-profit conservation organizations have played active roles in the restoration of high-quality tallgrass prairie, dolomite prairie, sedge meadows and related communities at Midewin; these include the Wetlands Initiative and the Illinois chapter of The Nature Conservancy and several other members of the Chicago Wilderness collaborative. The name Midewin is a Potowatomi Native American word referring to the tribe's healers, who it was believed kept the tribal society in balance. Research since the establishment of the park has found evidence of a pre-European–contact village from the Oneota culture in a place on the site called Middle Creek; the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie was established by federal law in 1996.
Major proponents of the prairie establishment and restoration included World War II flying ace William J. Cullerton; the Illinois Land Conservation Act created the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, designated the transfer of 19,165 acres of land in Illinois from the U. S. Army to the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service; the Illinois Land Conservation Act mandates that Midewin be managed to meet four primary objectives: To conserve and enhance the native populations and habitats of fish and plants. To provide opportunities for scientific and land use education and research. To allow the continuation of existing agricultural uses of lands within Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie for the next 20 years, or for compatible resource management uses thereafter. To provide recreational opportunities that are compatible with the above purposes; the first land transfer from the Army to the Forest Service took place on March 10, 1997, included 15,080 acres of land, believed to be free from contamination.
Subsequent land acquisitions place the current size of Midewin at about 20,000 acres. In 2015, the prairie approved the use of 1,200 acres to establish a conservation herd of American Bison; the 20-year plan will study the relationship between the historic large grazing animal, which became extinct, prairie restoration and health. In October, a herd of 27 bison were introduced. Four bulls were transferred from the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Fort Collins, 23 cows were obtained from a ranch in Gann Valley, in Buffalo County, South Dakota; this is the first U. S. Forest Service project of its kind. By late spring 2017, births had increased the size of the herd to around 50. After a period of ecological restoration, part of the prairie opened to visitors in 2004. Today, over 7,000 acres of the reserve are open, with public trails for non-motorized recreation; the MNTP headquarters entrance is located near the center of the preserve. Shortgrass prairie Tallgrass prairie United States National Grassland Gensburg-Markham Prairie usda.gov: Text of Illinois Land Conservation Act of 1995 — law establishing Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
US Forest Service site for Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie "A Midewin Almanac", blog covering the restoration of the site The National Forest Foundation: "Restoration and Conservation Plan for Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie" —
Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge
The Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge is a newly established United States national wildlife refuge that will include noncontiguous properties tallgrass prairie patches, wetland properties, oak savanna parcels, located in the northwestern region of the Chicago metropolitan area and the southern part of the Milwaukee area. The refuge's boundaries encompass parts of McHenry County and Walworth County, Wisconsin; the refuge will be operated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, known as USFWS. 85 percent of the refuge will be in Illinois, 15 percent in Wisconsin. The refuge will cover 11,200 acres of land in Illinois and Wisconsin, which will complement 23,000 acres acquired for public use or under environmental protection as of 2011. Existing parklands adjacent to the proposed refuge's boundaries include several McHenry County Conservation District areas; the name Hackmatack is an Algonquin term for the American tamarack or Larix laricina, a conifer abundant in regional wetlands. Hackmatack was the word used by many language groups in the Algonquin language group, including the Potawatomi, the tribe that most intensively utilized this ecosystem at the time this area was first mapped in the 17th and 18th centuries.109 separate threatened or endangered species, including 49 species of birds, are listed within the area being studied for the proposed refuge designation.
Examples of endangered fauna that find a home within the boundaries of the proposed refuge include the Blanding's turtle. The Hackmatack wetlands were a traditional home to the Potawatomi tribe of Native Americans of the United States, who utilized them for fishing, waterfowl hunting, the gathering of plants used as food and medicine. During the rapid population growth of the 20th century, many of the wetlands within the Hackmatack ecosystem were drained and altered for residential development, while others, such as Volo Bog State Natural Area near Fox Lake, were preserved. In October 2010, USFWS held four meetings, two each in Illinois and Wisconsin, to discuss plans for the proposed refuge. In addition, the USFWS continued to accept public comments on the proposed refuge into 2011; the USFWS stated that they expected to release a draft environmental assessment of the proposal in late spring 2011. Following this comment procedure, the USFWS designated the proposed refuge for approval in August 2012.
The refuge will not be established until legal interest in lands are acquired, through purchase or donation. The legal interest may encompass anything from fee simple ownership to conservation easement. Purchase of land interest is dependent upon congressional appropriation of funds. Lands in Lake County, Kenosha County and Racine County, Wisconsin were considered for inclusion in the new refuge, but were left outside its boundaries in the August 2012 announcement; the State of Illinois announced acquisition of the first parcel land designated for inclusion in the new refuge, a 72-acre plot in northern McHenry County, in February 2013. The acquisition was made for $511,000. Acquisition of the land by a public-sector body triggered the completion of the legal act of creating the new refuge. Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge - official site at US Fish & Wildlife Service Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge