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  Saline County - State Fish & Wildlife Area   

   
South Region

85 Glen O. Jones Road
Equality, IL, 62934
618.276.4405
E-mail


view of the lake
Site Map Facilities Hunting
Boating Fishing Lake
Camping Hiking Picnicking
Concession History Trails
Directions Horseback Riding  
   

Saline County State Fish & Wildlife Area, 5 miles southeast of Equality in southeastern Illinois, was the site of springs and wells that furnished brine for one of the two salt works. Although the springs and wells are not visible today, the area primarily is a recreational site. The initial acquisition of 524 acres of land was made in 1959 by the state of Illinois, and the total acreage now totals 1,270 acres, including a beautiful 105-acre lake.

History

Salt is the theme of the early history in the area around Equality in Gallatin County. One of several counties originally part of Gallatin, Saline County takes its name from the salt works. American Indians made salt here long before the first settlers appeared. In 1803 the Indians ceded their "Great Salt Springs" to the United States by treaty. Congress refused to sell the salt lands in the public domain but did authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to lease them to individuals for a royalty. The leases required the holder to produce a certain quantity of salt each year, or pay a penalty.

Although the northwest ordinance prohibited slavery in this area, special territorial laws and a constitutional provision permitted exceptions at these salines. The leasees brought in slaves or indentured servants and used them extensively in manufacturing salt. The census of 1820 for Gallatin County listed 239 slaves or servants.

In 1818, as part of the process of making a new state, Congress gave the salines to Illinois but forbade the sale of the land. The state continued to lease the springs and used the revenue to finance part of its operating expenses. Eventually Congress allowed the outright sale of the land. The commercial production of salt made the expense of extracting it from the brine prohibitive.

Glen O. Jones Lake, with a maximum depth of 35 feet and a 2.7 mile shoreline, is the focal point of the area. The lake was named for a prominent Saline County citizen who served in the Illinois General Assembly. Senator Jones also was twice elected state's attorney of Saline County and was a member of various social and fraternal organizations.

Hunting

Saline County State Fish & Wildlife Area is a combination of bottomland bordering the Saline River and hilly land bordering the Shawnee National Forest. The rugged, rocky hills are heavily timbered and surrounded by brushy areas that provide cover for quail and rabbits. Waterfowl also use the bottomland areas when the streams overflow and water is available. Several wood ducks nest on the river, slough and lake. 

For more information on hunting facilities see the  Saline County Hunter Fact Sheet | Sahara Woods Fact Sheet

Facilities

Facilities include picnic areas scattered around the lake with tables, drinking water and fireplaces. A concession stand provides a variety of sundries, boat rentals and fishing bait.

Camping

A large camping area accomodates both tent and trailer campers. A trailer disposal is available, but electricity is not available. Campers must obtain a camping permit from site personnel upon arrival. An equestrian campground also exists.

Boating and Fishing

The lake contains a variety of fish including largemouth bass, bluegill, redear, crappie and channel catfish. Two launching ramps, two docks are available, and the concession stand offers boat rentals. The motor limit is 10 HP.

Trails

Four designated hiking trails are designated--Lake, Cave Hill, River and Wildlife Nature Trail offer 9 miles for a scenic exploration. The site has several miles of horse trails and a separate campground for riders and their horses is available.

Directions

To reach Saline County State Fish & Wildlife Area, take Rt. 13 East from Harrisburg, turn right onto Rt 142, travel 1 mile, turn right, drive 5 miles to the Park entrance. From Eldorado, go south on Rt. 142 approximately 7 miles, turn right just past the Saline County State Fish & Wildlife sign and travel 5 miles to the park. From the Ohio River bridge at Shawneetown, travel west on Rt. 13 to Rt. 142, turn left, drive 1 mile and turn right again just past the park sign and drive 5 miles on the blacktop to the park.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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