SANGAMON RIVER CORRIDOR RESERVE
At this 108-acre reserve, LCF planted 25,000 trees, restoring a farm field to its natural, wooded state. This renewed floodplain forest is a natural water filter, helping ensure a healthy river and a clean water supply.
Hike to the Sangamon River on the raised Bruce Hannon Levee Trail. The reserve offers birding, fishing, and nature study.
Take a guided tour with fun facts for all ages using the Prairie State Hike App.
59-acre floodplain forest restoration
Monticello, IL, in Piatt County
On Allerton Rd, just south of the Monticello Golf Club
Latitude and Longitude: 40.020800, -88.585096
Take I-72 toward Monticello.
Take exit 164 onto Bridge St; turn toward Monticello.
At the stoplight, turn right on Market St.
At the stop sign (McDonald’s), turn right on Marion St.
At the stop sign, turn left on Allerton Rd.
In 0.3 miles, the gravel parking lot is on your right (just past the Monticello Golf Club).
Night and day, there's plenty of wildlife action on our Levee Trail! Our trail camera has captured casual coyotes, hardworking beaver, young raccoons, jumping mice, and much more.
For Your Safety: Flooding Risk
PLEASE USE CAUTION! There are potential hazards on the levee trail, especially after storm effects, when flooding occurs. There is no guarantee of your safety. You are welcome to access Land Conservation Foundation lands at your own risk.
If water is rising, turn around, don’t drown! The trail could be flooded by the time you leave, trapping you on the trail.
If water is flowing over the trail, turn around, don’t drown! Just one foot of rushing floodwater can move a car.
History & Significance
From its beginnings, LCF has focused on the Sangamon River because:
The river replenishes. The Sangamon helps recharge the Mahomet Aquifer, a vital source of drinking water.
The river is rich. Sections are on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory, for their rich diversity of aquatic life.
The river is threatened. Upper reaches are being developed.
In November 2012, LCF purchased 108 acres to create the Sangamon River Corridor Reserve, where 59 acres of former farmland is being restored to natural floodplain forest. LCF volunteers planted this area with thousands of native trees such as bitternut hickory, sycamore, and walnut, along with shingle, bur, and swamp white oak.
Levees that kept the farmland from flooding were preserved and cleared to create the Bruce Hannon Levee Trail.
To restore natural flooding, LCF added culverts to let water flow under the levees. This brings back the benefits of this wetland. It holds and filters water, replenishing groundwater and returning clean water to the river. Wetlands also provide wonderful wildlife habitat.
Ongoing maintenance of the culverts and trail is required to preserve this unique opportunity to experience a floodplain up close in all seasons.
A Keystone Connection
This reserve is the keystone in LCF’s vision of a continuous corridor of protected land across Monticello, from Allerton Park to Lodge Park.
Thanks to Our Project Donors and Supporters
Outreach to landowners was funded by $60,000 in grants from Archer Daniels Midland Company and the Robeson Family Foundation, plus a $1,000 grant from the Champaign Soil and Water Conservation District.
Land purchase was made possible by $160,000 in private gifts and a $455,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.
Additional supporters include:
City of Decatur
City of Monticello
Illinois Clean Energy Commission
Kennedy Hutson Associates
Piatt County Forest Preserves