Bruce Rauner, Governor

DNR Links Skip to Content Skip to State Links

 IDNR Home
 IDNR Home (new)
 Agency Offices
 Disabled Outdoors
 Freedom of Information Act
 Get Involved
 Grant Info
 Great Lakes Restoration
 License / Permit / Register
 Kids & Education
 Law Enforcement
 Mandatory Safety Programs
 Lodges / Leasing
 More Links
 Outdoor Recreation
 Parks & Recreation
 Press Releases
 State Museums
 World Shooting & Recreational Complex
 DNR A to Z

Illinois Gallery Website
Enjoy Illinois

  William W. Powers - State Recreation Area   

Northeast Region

12949 Avenue O
Chicago, IL 60633

Site Map Fishing Picnicking
Boating History Winter Sports
Directions Hunting  

A 160-acre tract was acquired by the state in 1947 and became known as the Wolf Lake State Recreation Area. Other acquisitions have now increased the area to 580 acres, of which 419 acres are water.

The Lake

Wolf Lake is a natural lake, but many areas were dredged in years past. It is separated into five different sections by dikes left following the dredging project. The maximum depth is about 20 feet.


Wolf Lake straddles the Illinois and Indiana State line between 120th and 134th streets. The park road on the east side runs parallel to the Indiana line. It is not known how the area originally became known as Wolf Lake. Some local residents claimed Wolf was an early settler or an Indian chief; others said that years ago wolves were abundant around the lake and that the lake itself was in the shape of a wolf. The Chicago Historical Society was unable to verify any of these possibilities.

In 1965, the Legislature approved changing the name of the state recreation area to honor the memory of William W. Powers, a former state legislator, who was well-known for his deep interest in the promotion of recreation for the residents of his district. Representative Powers' generosity also included providing annual Christmas parties for children, baskets of food, and fuel for less fortunate ones during the depression years.


The main picnic area is located south of the main entrance and parallels Avenue O. An ample quantity of tables and stoves are provided in shady spots beneath the many willow and cottonwood trees. Four shelters are availalbe and may be reserved at: Reserveamerica.com


Wolf Lake contains largemouth bass, northern pike, bluegill, redear sunfish, crappie, bullhead, carp, walleye, hybrid muskie, and yellow perch. About six miles of shoreline is available to bank fisherman.


Motors of any size are allowed (motors larger than 10 H.P. must operate at no-wake, idle speed).

Winter Sports

Ice fishing is permitted when conditions allow the ice to become thick enough. Please contact the park office for the most current information.


The area is used for waterfowl hunting during the fall of the year. Hunting must be done from authorized blinds, which are allocated at a public drawing during the month of July. Unoccupied blinds are available on a daily basis. Consult the park ranger for information concerning hunting regulations and blind site locations.  Hunter Fact Sheet


This area is for all to enjoy so help keep it clean. Put all litter in the nearest available trash container. Camping or swimming is not permitted. No plants or parts of any tree may be removed or damaged. Park hours are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Memorial Day through the last day of September; 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, October 1st through Memorial Day (early entry to waterfowl hunters during hunting season).


William W. Powers State Recreation Area is on Chicago's far southeast side, off highways 94, 90, and 41. The main park entrance is at 12949 South Avenue O.

  • While groups of 25 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.
  • At least one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
  • Pets must be kept on leashes at all times and clean up after them.
  • Actions by nature can result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park office before you make your trip.
  • We hope you enjoy your stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.
  • For more information on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs' Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
  • Telecommunication Device for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217) 782-9175 for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.

Parks & Recreation

Illinois Dept.of Natural Resources
Office of Land Management
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702
Becoming an Outdoors Woman
Interpretive Programs
State Park Magazine
Website Map
Visitor Comment Card

Copyrightę 2015 Department of Natural Resources
Accessibility    Contact    FAQs    Podcasts    Privacy    Social Networking