SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announced today the state is adding more than 100 acres to the Cache River State Natural Area, one of the state’s premier natural areas containing cypress trees more than 1,000 years old.
“The Cache River is a jewel of Southern Illinois and a wetlands of international importance,” the Governor said. “It is critical that we continue to protect and maintain areas like these for the benefit of the natural resources and the enjoyment of the public.”
The site, located in Johnson and Pulaski counties, contains a large, diverse area of bottomland forest, swamps, upland forest, hill prairies, bedrock glades and cliffs. More than 100 species of endangered or threatened plant and animals species call the area home. The acquisition of 102 acres, 2 miles north of Karnak, will be restored to woodland habitat and brings the park to 14,270 acres.
“Visiting this site is like stepping back in time,” said Department of Natural Resources Director Joel Brunsvold. “Here you will see the largest and best bald cypress swamp in Illinois and some of the most diverse and unique plant and animal species that you just can’t find anywhere else in the state.”
The Cache River State Natural Area is part of a larger, 60,000-acre Cache River Wetlands complex in southern Illinois with extensive swamps and bottomland hardwood forests which harbor a vast array of migratory waterfowl, wading birds, neotropical migrant songbirds, rare mammals and ancient cypress trees. DNR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nature Conservancy are continuing to work together to ecologically restore the area.