Illinois Beach State Park

Illinois Beach State Park

Infobox_protected_area | name = Illinois Beach State Park, Illinois, USA
iucn_category = III

caption = Map of the U.S. state of Illinois showing the location of Illinois Beach State Park
locator_x = 229
locator_y = 7
location = Lake County, Illinois, USA
nearest_city = Zion, Illinois
lat_degrees = 42
lat_minutes = 25
lat_seconds = 02
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 87
long_minutes = 48
long_seconds = 42
long_direction = W
area = convert|4160|acre|km2|2|lk=on
established = 1948
visitation_num =
visitation_year =
governing_body = Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Illinois Beach State Park is part of the Illinois state park system and is located along Lake Michigan in northeast Illinois in unincorporated Zion, Illinois and the Village of Winthrop Harbor. The park is broken into two units that encompass an area of convert|4160|acre|km2|2| and contains over six miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. The two units are separated by the Zion Nuclear Power Station, a currently retired nuclear power plant.

Recreational activities at Illinois Beach State Park include boating, swimming, hiking, bicycling, camping, bird watching, and picnicking. Known primarily for the beach, Illinois Beach State Park also includes dunes areas, wetlands, prairie, and woodlands. The area at the far southern end of the park is a designated nature preserve, which was named a National Natural Landmark in 1980.

The park was gradually created starting in 1948 when the state acquired the first parcels. The northern unit, acquired between 1971 and 1982, was previously an Illinois National Guard training facility known as Camp Logan, Illlinois. During the American Civil War, Camp Logan was a Union prisoner of war camp.

The entry to the beach is usually from a parking area on its north side: north of this carpark is usually the most crowded area in the summer time. South, the beach is less crowded and a mile of shoreline extends to an inlet into a wetland. Depending on weather conditions this inlet may be blocked by a berm from the lake waters, and again depending on weather conditions the water inside the berm may be significantly warmer than Lake Michigan which is rather cold until August. Signs warn of hazards including being trapped in water exchanges.

This area has been used by nudists but it is not recognized as a nude beach. Even though it is inaccessible to police cars, Illinois Conservation Police Officers patrol the area with ATVs and heavy-duty trucks. And though illegal, people may use this area, at least some of the time, without trouble.

As the South Unit is not in an actual municipality, the police protection is provided by the Lake County Sheriff's Department. The fire and emergency medical services are provided by the Beach Park Fire Department. The water is supplied by the City of Zion, and telephone service is through the Waukegan switch. The North Unit is in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois which provides primary police and fire/emergency medical services. Both properties also fall under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Conservation Police. The water service here is also provided by Zion and phone service comes thorough the Zion/Winthrop Harbor switch.

External links

* [ Illinois Beach State Park official website]
* [ Trails at Illinois Beach State Park]

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