U.S Forest Service Urging Caution in Shawnee National Forest After Recent Heavy Rain

May 8, 2017

Shawnee National Forest
Credit Djngsf, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

U.S. Forest Service officials are urging caution in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois due to flooding following last week’s heavy rain. 

USFS said in a release the Type 2 Eastern Area Indictment Management Team assisted with flood damage assessments on 90% of the recreation area and on 10% of the trails and roads.

Crews found downed trees and several water-eroded trails. Many roads and entrances are closed due to water levels. A flood warning along the Ohio River remains in effect.

The National Weather Service said the Ohio River will continue to rise and will crest mid-week from Paducah to Cairo.

A flood warning is also in effect on the Mississippi River. New Madrid is expected to crest Thursday morning at 40.5 feet.

List of assessed areas, per release:

Mississippi Bluffs Ranger District (west side):

  • Turkey Bayou Campground and boat ramp is CLOSED due to high water.
  • Little Grand Canyon Picnic Area and Trailhead: Trail in the bottoms is under water. There is erosion at the bottom of the steps.
  • Natural Bridge trail has water erosion.
  • Kinkaid Lake Area: - Crisenberry Dam Road (Jackson Co. Road) is flooded to Kinkaid Spillway.
  • Buttermilk Hill Trail #387 where it joins #382 has 3 miles with several trees down. There are likely to be more trees down on other nearby trails.
  • LaRue Pine Hills Road: Barricades 0.1 mi. south of Godwin Trailhead where road sloughed off along the side reducing to single lane. North entrance to LaRue Pine Hills is CLOSED by the Levee District due to flooding.
  • Opossum Trot road is CLOSED.
  • Snake Road: some water and large puddles. Gate closed to traffic until 5/15.
  • White Pine Trail Head: A couple of trees are down.
  • Johnson Creek Boat Ramp: Water is high, but ramp is accessible
  • Hutchins Creek trail and east side of the Godwin trail have trees down, but are passable.
  • Pine Hills Campground has some erosion
  • Cove Hollow near the Tin Whistle had trees down but the tread OK. The R2R from East Trigg TH to the Tin Whistle has some rutting and gravel that has washed off of the trail.
  • Cedar Lake Trail has several sections that have landslides and trees down. The east parking lot has sloughing and erosion.

Hidden Springs Ranger District (east side):

  • Stone Face area: Road is CLOSED. It is completely washed out leading to the parking area.
  • Whiteside Rd #652 has erosion and is washed out in several places.
  • Millstone Trail at bottom: occasional washouts of trail tread
  • Tower Rock Recreation Area is still above flood level with no damage.
  • Iron Furnace showing no flooding damage.
  • Lusk Creek Wilderness Trail Systems: normal conditions observed.
  • Bell Smith Springs Trail System: normal trail conditions and creek level.
  • Rim Rock Trail and Beaver Trail to Pounds Hollow: water receded and slight erosion present.
  • Hayes Canyon Trail Systems: Several downed trees are on the trails.
  • Trails #496 and #497 near Hayes Creek are muddy and have trees down
  • Jackson Falls: No flood damage has been observed at the rec area.
  • Maxwell Ford Trail # 30 is under water and not accessible.
  • River to River Trail at Petticoat Jct., trail #491 and trail #032 have trees down.
  • Franks tract to Natural Bridge, Trail #481 has some damage, Pond dam at Franks tract is ok.
  • Trail #457D to Blanchard crossing has no flood damage.
  • Thacker Hollow: Trails #183, 184 and #185 loop have slight damage and one tree down.
  • Clayton Hollow: Trails #184 to #181 have minor damage.
  • Garden of the Gods is normal, no apparent damage to the flagstone trail.
  • Trails in the One Horse Gap show some damage, but are passable.
  • Mustang Lane has a large washout and will be barricaded for safety.
  • R2R at High knob and trail #164 are very muddy and have trees down.
  • Stone Bottom Road in the Lusk Creek Wilderness has trees down across it inhibiting access to 487C from the road.
  • One Horse Gap: all trails are very muddy and several trees are down on #175 and #176. There is a clogged culvert with erosion and wash out on Trail #106A at #178.