Located in Carroll County alongside the Mississippi River, Mississippi Palisades State Park is an excellent location for outdoor activities during any month of the year, even the winter months.

It is a little known fact that February is an especially good time of year for bird watching in Illinois. Mississippi Palisades State Park is home to about 200 different species of birds. Species include golden eagles, red-tailed hawks and purple finches. In recent years, the Bald Eagle population of Carroll County has climbed, making Mississippi Palisades State Park an ideal place to spot the majestic birds during January and February. The park is also a destination for other popular winter activities such as cross country skiing, sledding and ice fishing.

During the warmer months, Mississippi Palisades State Park attracts visitors with fifteen miles of hiking trails that follow the same paths that have been used for centuries to traverse the steep cliffs that line the river. The park is also known for its first-rate picnic and camping facilities, open May through October, which were constructed with great care by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s.

Due to natural erosion along the Mississippi River, there are many interesting geological features to explore along the palisades. These formations are visible from the river, where boating and canoeing are popular. Some rock formations along the palisades have been designated as national landmarks by the U.S. Interior Department.

During the fall and spring, Mississippi Palisades State Park is a destination for hunters. The wild turkey archery season in spring and the three-day firearm deer season in November attract hunters to this striking plot of land along the river.

For birding, hunting, fishing, hiking, boating and much more, the natural beauty and diverse, local wildlife of Mississippi Palisades State Park never disappoint.

 

Cherry Mine Fan HouseA tragic coal mine fire in Bureau County 107 years ago was the impetus behind Illinois becoming a national leader on workers’ compensation and workplace safety laws.

In 1909, the Cherry Mine in Bureau County employed more than 500 men and produced 1,500 tons of coal daily to fuel locomotives for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad. Immigrant mining families flocked to Cherry for steady employment in what was considered one of the safest mines in the country at the time.

On Nov. 13 that year, a kerosene torch dripped hot oil on a cart of hay for the mules that worked inside the mine. The hay smoldered unnoticed and a blaze eventually erupted, blocking the escape of many of the miners working that day. When all was said and done, 259 of them perished from burns and asphyxiation, leaving behind 500 fatherless children and 160 widows.

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Illinois a national leader in Agriculture Production in 2015

Throughout history Illinois has been a top state for agricultural production. Illinois, once again, was a top state in agricultural production in 2015.

Soybean production in Illinois continued to be excellent after matching a 2014 state record. At 56 bushels per acre, Illinois produced more than 544 million bushels of soybeans. A top commodity for its many uses, including soy sauce, soy milk and tofu, Illinois was the second largest soy bean-producing state only behind Iowa at 56.5 bushels per acre for a total output of 554 million bushels.

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ChristmasTreeFarmWhen Bomke’s Patch first opened its doors in 2009, owner Cathy Bomke was elated to sell 100 Christmas trees. Last year, the family-run business sold close to 1,000.

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hunting2

As we make our way into November, it’s easy as a sportsman to be drawn into the urgent feelings of a progressing archery deer season, the impending firearms season soon to come or the call of the Canada geese as they make their way down from the north to winter on the lakes and in the fields. What we tend to forget is the opening of multiple upland game seasons and the simple joys they bring. If your pursuit of big game is starting to get under your skin, maybe it’s time to change things up a bit.

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