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The Friends of Pere Marquette State Park Foundation, a non-profit 501-C3 organization, was formed in 2009 by private citizens working to support, protect and enhance Pere Marquette State Park and its many programs. Our state parks are valuable recreation assets and important economic engines for our communities and state.
Funding has been cut for our State Parks. Park personnel are struggling to complete the basic services necessary to keep the park open. Support for the many recreational and educational programs has to come from funding other than the State of Illinois.
You can be directly involved and support Pere Marquette State Park through volunteer work with our Friends group and financial/membership donations, thus helping to leave a legacy for future generations. Please visit our website and click on the donate tab to learn more.
Photos property of Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Visitors Center Hours:
Monday - Saturday 9:00 A.M. – 3:30 P.M.
Sunday 10:00 A.M. - 3:30 P.M.
A nature-lovers paradise, this 8,000 acre park is famous for the exceptional beauty of its fall colors and for its bald eagles during the winter. In addition to enjoying the spectacular view of the Illinois River and its backwaters from several points atop the bluffs, visitors can take advantage of a variety of year-round recreational opportunities.
The history of the park goes back to 1931 when civic groups raised money to preserve this land for a State Park. It has grown into the largest State Park in the State ofIllinois. The Lodge was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Today, native stone and rustic timbers of the original Lodge blend with the new to provide first class accommodations in an historical setting.
Although our “wish list” is becoming larger, these are a few of the things we are working on:
Family Fishing Fair: Our biggest event of the year is our Family Fishing Fair. It is the largest Family Fishing Fair in the State of Illinois. This fair is free to all attendees! 2017 will be the 27th year of holding this event. Attendance is usually 4,000 to 5,000 people with approximately 1600+ of these being children. There are 20 – 25 learning stations and thousands of gifts and prizes given away. It takes 225+ volunteers and over $17,000 to put this on. Our Friends group not only volunteers at the different stations, we also sell raffle tickets and help collect raffle prizes.
Eagle Watching: Over 1200 people from all over the mid-west attend our eagle watching programs! These begin in January and continue into March. We have worked with the park personnel to develop an “Eagle Cam”. The picture is transmitted onto a television screen in the visitor’s center for all to see. We are also working to get the picture on the internet.
Vehicle Radio Transmitter: As part of the eagle watching program, people follow in cars behind the site interpreters van when going to the various locations to see eagles. We are trying to get some type radio transmitter so people in their cars can hear the site interpreter’s comments as he points out various things of interest on the 4 hour tour.
Updating Landscaping: We’re very fortunate to have a “Master Gardener” in our group! She will be working with park personnel to update landscaping, at the visitors center, with native plants. We also plan to use this area for teaching purposes.
Gift Shop: We have set up a small gift shop in the visitor’s center to raise money for the Friends group. Our goal is to not only make a little money but also to offer educational resources for the public.
These are a few of the many programs offered at the Park:
Eagle Programs - Dec/Jan/Feb/Mar
Annual Fishing Fair - Mid June
Pottery Programs - Aug/Sept
Bobcat Program - September
Wild Edibles Program - October
Owl Program - October
There are also many activities at the historic Pere Marquette State Park Lodge. Visit www.pmlodge.net to learn about these activities.