decades the residents of Jasper County worked for a state park, assisted
and encouraged by a former resident and conservationist, Sam Parr. In
1960, 72 acres of land were acquired by the Department of Natural Resources
and the Jasper County Conservation Area became a reality. Additional acquisitions
have brought the total acreage to 1,180, including a 183-acre lake.
After the death of
Sam Parr in 1966, the General Assembly changed the name from Jasper County
to Sam Parr. The site was formally dedicated on May 12, 1972. It is 3
miles northeast of Newton.
As in most of Illinois,
the early inhabitants of this area were Indians. For nearly 1,000 years
they fished and lived along the Embarrass River and hunted in nearby woodlands,
including what is now Sam Parr State Fish and Wildlife Area.
The 1770's brought
the French and the westward expansion of the American colonists, who pushed
the Indians westward into Illinois in search for new lands. The Piankashaw
finally settled in this area and they lived in comparative peace with
the French who lived with them, adapting many of their ways. General Harrison
from Vincennes, Indiana, negotiated a treaty with the Piankashaws in 1812,
whereby they gave up nearly one million acres of land to the United States
Government, including what is now Jasper county. There were about 140
Piankashaw Indians left in the area.
The dam built in 1971,
impounds a 183-acre lake. The maximum depth is 28 feet and the shoreline
is 9 miles. The lake is nestled in a rolling timbered area and has attracted
nesting wood ducks. The lake contains largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish,
crappie, channel catfish and bullhead. Two launching ramps are located
on the west side of the lake.
Boats with maximum
10 hp motors are allowed on the lake, and canoes are popular. Boat
dock rentals are available. Fishing access and parking is also
available on the east side of the lake via a county road.
Facilities at Sam
Parr include four picnic areas for day use, shelters in all areas,
more than 2 miles of foot trails, 13 miles of equestrian
Class B/E, C &
D, and Youth camping are available.
Check with the site
manager for upland game species and hunting dates. Hunter
From the north: Follow
Rt. 130 south to Rt. 33 east. Turn east on Rt. 33 and go 1 mile to park
From the south:
Follow Rt. 130 north to Rt 33 east. Turn east on Rt. 33 and go 1 mile
to park entrance. From the west: Follow Rt. 33 east from Effingham 25
miles to park entrance. (2 mile east of Newton). From the east: Follow
Rt. 33 west 21 mile from Robinson to park entrance.
- 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
- 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.