Thursday, Dec 5, 2013
Ozark Tour Returning to the Shawnee Forest
WSIL -- Shawnee National Forest officials are bringing back what they call Ozark tours. The special events for the public date back to the 1930's and 40's but haven't been done in decades. They're designed to show off the natural resources of southern Illinois and the tours will return to the Shawnee later this month.
The sights of southern Illinois need to be nurtured that's Mary McCorvie's mission. She's the Heritage Manager for the Shawnee National Forest.
High Knob in Hardin County is one of the stops on the tour. McCorvie says a man named named Colonel L.O. Trigg started Ozark Tours in 1931. He knew the region's economy was struggling and wanted to show off its beauty.
"He saw the potential for tourism in Southern Illinois, as an economic engine. What he wanted to do is raise awareness for the scenic beauties and the historical sites that we have here in southern Illinois," said McCorvie.
Knights of the Golden Circle is another spot along the tour. It's named after a group of confederate sympathizers who used it for secret meetings during the civil war.
"They didn't think that the union had the right to invade the south, they thought that the south should have it's own rights and be able to do as it chose to," McCorvie explained.
The high sandstone walls offered protection for the rebel group. McCorvie says today it's one of the least visited treasures of the forest and it shouldn't be.
"It offers a very different experience for forest visitors," McCorvie said.
There's still time to sign up for the Ozark Tour. The event is set for Sept. 28 and 29. Click on the link at the top of this story for more information.
Wind: 6 MPH
Humidity: 86 %