BEAVER DAM STATE PARK
Located in Macoupin County 7 miles southwest of Carlinville and situated in an oak/hickory woodland, Beaver Dam State Park offers a variety of recreational opportunities on its 750 acres. Fishing, picnicking, hiking, and tent and trailer camping are among the most popular activities. Although the beaver is virtually gone from this area, the park is named for a beaver dam that created its lake.
The combination of upland and bottomland woods, farmland, open fields, a lake and a marsh combine to provide habitat for many kinds of animals. A quiet walker may discover deer, fox, raccoons, grey squirrels, wild turkeys, hawks, owls and woodpeckers. The park is also a home for snakes, frogs and insects. White squirrels, which are not albinos, but rather a white-color phase of the grey squirrel, are periodically seen within the park boundaries. Some different types of songbirds which enrich the natural setting are bluebirds, orioles, finches, cardinals, titmice, nuthatches, chickadees, peewees and cuckoos. Waterfowl and shorebirds are found seasonally in the park. Pileated woodpeckers are also commonly seen.
The lake became a well-known fishing spot when in the early 1890s, 18 men from the Carlinville area formed a Beaver Dam Lake Club. They spent $2,500 to build a dam at each end of the lake and double the water depth. For a number of years the club held summer and fall picnics at the lake. Their families enjoyed fishing and boating throughout the season. The area then became the property of the family of Mrs. Sarah Rhodes, who for some time operated a small hotel which stood on the site of the present ranger residence. One mile northeast of the hotel existed a cluster of houses and a railroad stop known as Macoupin Station. Trails stopping here were met by a large horse-drawn coach which took guests to the hotel. With the advent of the automobile, however, this transit business disappeared and the hotel was closed. The initial land acquisition for Beaver Dam State Park was 425 acres in 1947. Additional land purchases have increased the park to a total of 751 acres.
The trailer camping area has electricity at each pad and a sanitary dump station. A shower building with flush toilets is located in the center of the trailer camping area. Water is available in the area, but there are no water hookups at each site. All campsites are first come first serve. Tent camping is in a separate area, with nearby rest rooms and water. A designated area for youth-group camping, such as Boy or Girl Scouts, features rest rooms, water, fire pads and picnic tables. When youth groups plan to use the area, the site superintendent?s office should be notified in advance by calling (217) 854-8020 to make a reservation for the group camping area. All camping is situated in wooded areas with large oak and hickory trees, which provide shade throughout most of the day. Located next to the shower house is a new Rent A Cabin available for reservation by calling the park office. Only the Rent-A-Cabin is available for reservation, all campsites are first come first serve. The park does not rent tents.
The concession stand on the lake is open from April through mid-October each year. Food, picnic supplies, live bait, tackle, boat rentals and fishing licenses are available. Please call 217-854-6688 for more information.