EAGLE CREEK STATE RECREATION AREA
In east central Illinois--just minutes from Springfield, Decatur, Champaign, Effingham and surrounding communities--the Eagle Creek/Wolf Creek sites, facing each other across the central portion of Lake Shelbyville, provide the perfect setting for outdoor recreation, natural relaxation, and luxurious accommodations for a day, a weekend, or even longer.
Four miles southeast of Findlay, the sites encompass 11,100-acres of water, 250 miles of shoreline and large tracts of carefully maintained indigenous woodland ideal for camping, hiking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, fishing, water skiing, pontoon boating, windsurfing or just plain bobbing and drifting on the glittering expanse of the lake itself.
In addition to the small, friendly wooded campgrounds and the action on the lake, large herds of deer frequent these areas and are always an exciting and inspiring sight.
Portions of the park have been cleared of physical barriers and are accessible to disabled visitors.
Like many other such areas, the Eagle Creek/Wolf Creek sites are perfect examples of the potential benefits of natural resource management. As a means of flood control, water supply and downstream water quality control, the Flood Control Act of 1958 authorized the Shelbyville Reservoir Project, which involved construction of a dam and creation of a lake. These practical necessities, however, would also allow for the actual conservation of fish and wildlife and the development of areas for exciting and varied recreational opportunities.
It was, of course, a monumental undertaking. Before actual work on the dam at Shelbyville could begin, several old mines in the area had to be completely filled in, cemeteries in the path of the planned lake had to be relocated, two gas and oil pipelines and roads rerouted, the old Shelby Power Plant demolished and land cleared and leveled on the west side of the channel which hugs the bluff to the east of the river bottom. Construction of this $56 million project began in May of 1963.
The dam itself is an earthen embankment towering 110 feet above the original stream bed. It?s 3,025 feet long with a reinforced concrete, gate-controlled spillway to manipulate the water level and manage the 25,300 acres of its flood control pool.
Most of this work was done by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the land is now managed by the State of Illinois on a long-term lease from the federal government which began in 1968. By 1972, the area was open to the public providing primitive camping facilities. In the years since then, the State has purchased additional surrounding lands and made extensive improvements in campground, boat launches, day-use areas and hiking trails that make this a beautiful, well-tended and well-managed natural retreat.
There are 56 Class A Reservable sites with electricity, showers, water hydrants, fire blocks and picnic tables. Class B/S, and Class D sites are available but not reservable. The Organized Group Camp area is reservable. The shower buildings are closed by November 1st (may be earlier if bad weather) and reopen May 1st (may be earlier - weather depending).
For those who prefer more comfortable accommodations, there is the Eagle Creek Resort and Conference Center. There are 138 luxurious guest rooms including 10 executive suites with fireplaces. Rooms are furnished with country furniture and charming accents and each has a patio where guests can enjoy views of the countryside and lake area. An indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, saunas and exercise room are available for year round activity.
Fine dining is available in the Wildflowers Dining Room and the Fox's Den Lounge and Grill offers a more casual dining atmosphere. The cocktail lounge is a convenient place to meet friends, catch up on the day's news, or plan the evening's activities.
A special feature of the Clarion Inn at Eagle Creek is the detached Eagle's Nest Conference Retreat. The retreat contains a large conference/lounge area with a fireplace, eight sleeping rooms, a full-service kitchen and wet bar. The Eagle's Nest conference retreat overlooks Lake Shelbyville, offering serene surroundings for a meeting or conference as well as full resort services.
Reservations for lodging can be made with the lodge manager by calling 1-800-876-3245.