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List of National Natural Landmarks in Illinois facts for kids

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Markham prairie 4
Markham Prairie, the most recently designated NNL in Illinois

The National Natural Landmarks (NNLs) in Illinois include 18 of the almost 600 such landmarks in the United States. They cover areas of geological, biological and historical importance, and include lakes, bogs, canyons and forests. Several of the sites provide habitat for rare or endangered plant and animal species. The landmarks are located in 13 of the state's 102 counties. Five counties each contain all or part of two or more NNLs, while one landmark is split between two counties. The first designation, Forest of the Wabash, was made in 1965, while the most recent designation, Markham Prairie, was made in 1987. Natural Landmarks in Illinois range from 53 to 6,500 acres (21.4 to 2,630.5 ha; 0.1 to 10.2 sq mi) in size. Owners include private individuals and several county, state and federal agencies.

The National Natural Landmarks Program is administered by the National Park Service, a branch of the Department of the Interior. The National Park Service determines which properties meet NNL criteria and, after notifying the owners, makes nomination recommendations. The Secretary of the Interior reviews nominations and, based on a set of predetermined criteria, makes a decision on NNL designation or a determination of eligibility for designation. Both public and privately owned properties can be designated as NNLs. Owners may object to the nomination of the property as a NNL. This designation provides indirect, partial protection of the historic integrity of the properties via tax incentives, grants, monitoring of threats, and other means.

National Natural Landmarks

Name Image Date Location County Ownership Description
Allerton Natural Area Allerton Park.jpg 1970 39°59′53″N 88°39′00″W / 39.998°N 88.65°W / 39.998; -88.65 Piatt State Contains a now-rare example of the ecosystems in Illinois stream valleys, with bottomland and upland forests in minimally disturbed condition. Part of Robert Allerton Park.
Bell Smith Springs
1980 37°31′7″N 88°39′22″W / 37.51861°N 88.65611°W / 37.51861; -88.65611 Pope Federal, private Part of the Shawnee National Forest, Bell Smith Springs contains excellent examples of sharply dissected sandstone substrates and their associated ecosystems. Stream erosion and mass wasting have created landform examples representative of the area.
Busse Forest Nature Preserve BusseWoods2.JPG 1980 42°02′32″N 88°00′12″W / 42.04209°N 88.003407°W / 42.04209; -88.003407 (Busse Forest Nature Preserve) Cook County Historic preserve of mesic and dry-mesic upland forest, one of the best examples in the eastern Central Lowlands bio-physiographic province. Part of the Cook County Forest Preserve District.
Forest of the Wabash
1965 38°21′31″N 87°49′30″W / 38.35861°N 87.825°W / 38.35861; -87.825 Wabash State Part of Beall Woods State Park, the site includes minimally disturbed bottom- and up-land forests along the Wabash River, including a major example of the region's remaining oak-hickory forest.
Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve-18apr14-042.jpg 1986 37°58′39″N 89°48′02″W / 37.9775°N 89.80056°W / 37.9775; -89.80056 Monroe State Fults Hill is the region's best and least disturbed example of loess hill prairies.
Funks Grove Nature Preserve Funks Grove Illinois.jpg 1974 40°21′49″N 89°06′52″W / 40.36361°N 89.11444°W / 40.36361; -89.11444 McLean State, private Transitional site between oak-hickory forest prevalent in the region and the western edge of the eastern mesophytic association. A now-rare example of the area's virgin forests.
Giant City Geological Area Giant City SP 20140809-069.jpg 1980 37°36′18″N 89°11′18″W / 37.605°N 89.18833°W / 37.605; -89.18833 Union State A part of Giant City State Park, the Geological Area is characterized by joint-bound sandstone blocks of the Pennsylvanian age, with examples of gravity sliding. It also contains extensive flora, including sugar maple-dominated mesic forests and oak-hickory and xeric oak woodlands.
Heron Pond - Little Black Slough Nature Preserve Heron Pond in Cache River State Natural Area.jpg 1972 37°22′01″N 88°57′00″W / 37.367°N 88.950°W / 37.367; -88.950 Johnson State, private Largest remnant of cypress-tupelo swamp in the state, containing alluvial, colluvial and lacustrine sedimentation and a heron rookery.
Horseshoe Lake Horshoe Lake 1972 37°08′56″N 089°21′18″W / 37.14889°N 89.355°W / 37.14889; -89.355 (Horseshoe Lake (Alexander County)) Alexander State Home to a wide range of flora, including mature bald cypress, and fauna, including migrating waterfowl and overwintering Canada geese. Part of Horseshoe Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area.
Illinois Beach Nature Preserve Illinois Beach State Park Lakefront.jpg 1980 42°25′02″N 87°48′42″W / 42.41722°N 87.81167°W / 42.41722; -87.81167 Lake State The site is a part of Illinois Beach State Park, and contains a wide range of savanna, prairie, wetland and beach ecosystems, as well as numerous endangered species.
LaRue-Pine Hills Ecological Area La Rue Pine Hills bluffs.jpg 1974 37°35′N 89°25′W / 37.583°N 89.417°W / 37.583; -89.417 Union Federal, state, private Part of the Shawnee National Forest, the Ecological Area provides habitat for diverse vegetation, representing plants from throughout the state, including 40 rare species.
Little Grand Canyon Little Grand Canyon IL.jpg 1980 37°41′11″N 89°23′54″W / 37.68644°N 89.39844°W / 37.68644; -89.39844 Jackson Federal A large box canyon with vertical overhanging walls, containing a wide range of ecosystems, including sandstone, oak-hickory forest and prairie. The area is known for its wide range of snakes that hibernate in its seasonal habitats. Located in Shawnee National Forest.
Lower Cache River Swamp Cachecan 1.jpg 1980 37°04′01″N 89°10′22″W / 37.066944°N 89.172778°W / 37.066944; -89.172778 Johnson, Pulaski State, private The swamp is a remnant fragment of a once-extensive ecosystem, providing habitat for large trees, including three that hold the records for the largest of their respective species.
Lusk Creek Canyon Lusk-Creek-Canyon.jpg 1980 37°31′08″N 88°32′24″W / 37.518889°N 88.54°W / 37.518889; -88.54 (Lusk Creek Canyon) Pope Federal, state Part of the Shawnee National Forest, Lusk Creek Canyon was formed by stream erosion and mass wasting through lower Pennsylvanian sandstone. The site includes two major forest ecosystems and numerous endangered plant species.
Markham Prairie Markham prairie 1.JPG 1987 41°36′25″N 87°41′16″W / 41.60694°N 87.68778°W / 41.60694; -87.68778 Cook Federal, state, private The largest high quality undisturbed prairie in the state and one of the largest in the area, Markham is a remaining fragment of a once-widespread ecosystem. Containing a mixture of sand prairie and tallgrass prairie, it also includes an undeveloped lakebed and beach ridges.
Mississippi Palisades Mississippi Palisades.jpg 1972 42°08′18″N 90°09′32″W / 42.138333°N 90.158889°W / 42.138333; -90.158889 Carroll State Contains cliffs, caves, and valleys illustrative of palisades topography, as well as extensive animal and plant habitat. Located in an eponymous state park.
Volo Bog Nature Preserve Volo Bog 1972 42°21′06″N 88°11′10″W / 42.351667°N 88.186111°W / 42.351667; -88.186111 Lake State Classic example of northern quaking bog, providing a habitat for numerous unusual and rare plant species.
Wauconda Bog Nature Preserve
1972 42°15′14″N 88°07′49″W / 42.2539°N 88.1302°W / 42.2539; -88.1302 Lake County Furthest south example of mature bog in the state, with a regionally unusual biotic community.
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List of National Natural Landmarks in Illinois Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.