Sam Parr State Fish and Wildlife Area is located in Southern Illinois on Sam Parr Lake. The campground offers guests waterfront views and many fully-shaded sites. The park’s landscape creates a calming atmosphere with its rolling timber and abundant wildflowers. The hickory, redbud, oak maple, and serviceberry trees support a thriving animal habitat for animals which frequent the park such as the white-tailed deer, blue jays, woodpeckers, and quail.
The park, named after Sam Parr, an outdoorsman who served as a fisheries administrator and an Illinois game warden, spans 1,180 acres and features a 183-acre lake. The park was formed when Jasper County residents fought for an area where the woodlands and the other natural resources could become a sanctuary for wildlife and plants as well as provide the county with opportunities for a preserved location to partake in recreational activities. In 1972 the park was completed and named after Parr, who was a park advocate and Jasper County resident.
Today, visitors from Jasper County and the surrounding areas come to the park to revere and enjoy nature. The lake and the other recreation provide people of all ages a place to escape the hustle and bustle of life and find respite within the stunning, wooded Illinois landscape.
Sam Parr State Fish and Wildlife Area is located in Newton, Illinois on East State Highway 33. The park is 27 miles southeast from Effingham and 115 miles southeast of Springfield, Illinois. From St. Louis, Missouri, the park is located 128 miles northeast.
There is no daily fee assessed upon entering the park. Campers pay an overnight fee to stay in the park.
The Lakeview Campground is a pet-friendly campground that operates year-round. Each site has 50 amp electrical hookups, a paved back-in driveway, a tent pad, and a grill with a fire ring. The small campground accommodates RVs and trailers up to 45 feet in length. Campers have access to drinking water, restrooms, and a dump station. The campground requires a minimum night stay on some weekends and holidays. The park’s quiet hours are between the hours of 10:00 pm and 7:00 am. Noise and light are limited the immediate campsite and should not disturb others.
The Sam Parr State Fish and Wildlife Area is scenic, and guests will enjoy the park by spending their visit outside. If you aren’t interested in any of the park’s activities, but you want to enjoy the outdoors, consider packing a lunch and bringing the whole family to one of the many different picnic shelters. Guests can enjoy looking at the water while staying cool under the shade. Many of the picnic areas have ample parking and are located near restrooms, and some of the day use areas are near the fishing areas and boat launches. Bring your kayaks or canoes and paddle on the lake before returning to shore for an evening under the stars. Whatever your plans are, you will be sure to find something to do at one of the day use areas.
Sam Parr Lake is a 183-acre body of water that has nine miles of shoreline. Bring your boats or fish from the shore and try to catch one of the lake’s resident largemouth bass, redear sunfish, bluegill, crappie, or channel catfish. Boats are permitted on the water as long as the horsepower does not exceed ten. Launch your boat from one of the two boat ramps, located on the north and the south side of the lake. Anglers can also access the water from the lake’s east side. All anglers age sixteen and older must possess a valid fishing license to fish in the state of Illinois.
The park has a series of multi-use trails for hiking and horseback riding. Two miles of trails are reserved for pedestrians, and 13 miles of trails wander through the park’s wooded landscape and along the lake. The longer paths are designated as equestrian trails. If you plan to bring your horse, use the equestrian parking lot on the east side of the park. Wandering leisurely through the park is relaxing no matter what method of transportation you choose.
The hunting opportunity in Sam Parr State Fish and Wildlife Area is abundant. During the appropriate season, hunters may either use rifles or bows to try and pursue white-tailed deer, rabbit, wild turkey, squirrel, dove, raccoon, opossum, woodcock, or bobwhite. Each season and species has a specific set of rules hunters must follow to include observing hunting boundaries, finding the appropriate licensing, and learning the park’s hunting rules. For additional details and permit requirements contact a member of park staff.
If you enjoy hiking in the warmer months, perhaps trying a new winter sport that is similar to hiking is for you. Cross country skiing is a sport that is appropriate for people of many ages. Rent skis to try the sport out or bring your own equipment if you know that you like the feeling of cruising through the woods on the snow. The park’s summer hiking trails transform to cross country skiing trails in the winter. Traverse over 15 miles of trails on your skis and see the park from a different, winter perspective.
During the winter, when the ice conditions are safe, bundle up and bring your family to the lake to ice skate. Skating on natural surfaces is far more enjoyable than skating in a rink because you get to feel the wind on your cheeks and see the trees all around you. If you prefer fishing instead of skating, bring your ice fishing gear and fish through the ice. During the winter, always follow ice safety rules. Skaters and ice fishers should contact the park for more information.