The Shawnee National Forest encompasses more than 270,000 acres in Southern Illinois and is home to outstanding natural areas which offer numerous outdoor experiences. Bordered on the east and west by the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the Shawnee National Forest flourishes with vegetation, wildlife, and recreational opportunities.
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge's 44,000 acres of land and water contain a wide diversity of flora and fauna. Major habitat types on the refuge include hardwood forest, agricultural land, grazing units, brushland, wetlands, and lakes. The refuge provides significant resting areas for migratory birds utilizing the Mississippi Flyway. Wintering numbers of Canada Geese can peak at 200,000. A total of 700 plant species, 245 bird species, 33 mammal species, 63 fish species, and 44 reptile and amphibian species have been documented on the refuge. The western 24,000 acres of the refuge provide a wide range of recreational opportunities and also includea 4,050-acre wilderness area. The eastern portion, 20,000 acres, is a wildlife sanctuary, and public use is limited.
Southern Illinois University Student Recreation Center offers swimming and sports facilities, intramurals, sport clubs, group fitness programs, outdoor equipment rental, and much more for students and members. The Student Recreation Center also has facilities for meetings and events.
The Carbondale Park District offers a wide variety of programs to fit the needs of the community. The Park District serves a diverse population with a wide range of interests, our programs and services serve infants, preschoolers, youths, teens, adults and seniors, as well as family interests. The Park District offers special events, instructional lessons, free programs and leisure services.