WAYNE FITZGERRELL STATE PARK
People interested in water sports, horseback riding, picnicking or hiking will find that Wayne Fitzgerrell has plenty to offer. The site also provides ample opportunities for birders, wildlife observers and photographers, fishing tournaments, pleasure boaters, water skiers and anglers.
Overlooking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers? 19,000-acre Rend Lake Reservoir, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area is a gateway to Southern Illinois? biggest outdoor playground - a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and interests. The park offers outstanding opportunities for hunting, fishing, camping, picnicking, horseback riding, hiking and other outdoor recreational pursuits.
You?d be hard pressed to find a recreational complex with more activities than Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area.
Birders visiting the area have an excellent chance of seeing great blue heron, American bald eagle, red-tailed hawk and a variety of shorebirds and waterfowl. The resident population of ring-necked pheasants that Wayne Fitzgerrell supports is unique in southern Illinois. White-tailed deer, raccoon, opossum and squirrel are among the mammals wildlife enthusiasts are likely to see.
Dedicated in 1975, just five years after the Rend Lake reservoir was constructed, the park encompasses 3,300 acres of former farmland leased to the Department of Natural Resources by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The site is named in honor of the late Wayne Fitzgerrell, a state representative from nearby Sesser who was an advocate for the construction of Rend Lake.
Approximately 2,000 acres of the site are developed for picnicking, boating access, camping and other activities, while another 1,000 acres have been set aside for hunting, field trials, wildlife observation, hiking and other land uses.
The area contains many fence rows, abandoned crop fields and cleared farmsteads interspered with small oak-hickory woodlands. Three quarters of the site?s perimeter is Rend Lake shoreline. This varied topography provides excellent habitat for a variety of upland and woodland wildlife, as well as waterfowl, shorebirds and raptors.
The beautiful waterside resort on Rend Lake offers first-class accommodations in one of southern Illinois? finest recreation areas, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area. All 105 rooms and cabins have balconies or decks with lakefront views, full baths, TVs and telephones. Some rooms have fireplaces, sleeping lofts and spas, and some are wheelchair accessible. Although cabins do not have cooking facilities, they are equipped with refrigerators.
Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, Windows Restaurant at Rend Lake features a lounge and casual outdoor deck dining. House specialities include pork chops, catfish and steak, plus excellent homemade salads and desserts. The restaurant also offers a kid?s menu.
Amenities include a conference center that will accommodate groups from 25 to 600, an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court, playground, golfing packages, a convenience store and gift shop, gas for boats, courtesy boat docking and rental of pontoon boats and wave runners.
For more information on hunting, fishing and golfing packages or to make lodging reservations, call (618) 629-2211 or (800) 633-3341.
Wayne Fitzgerrell has 40 tent sites to accommodate primitive campers who relish a rustic outdoor experience. Those who want a few more amenities will want to take advantage of the 243 modern campsites, which offer electrical hookups and sanitary facilities. Three shower buildings are available for campers.
Campers should register with the Campground Host upon arrival. The fee for camping is $15 per night for sites with electricity, or $6 per night for a primitive site. The campground remains available on a first-come, first-served basis which gives everyone equal opportunity for campsites.