Sand Ridge State Forest

Sand Ridge State Forest

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Sand Ridge State Forest

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Sand Ridge State Forest is a conservation area located in the U.S. state of Illinois. Containing 7,200 acres (29 kmĀ²), it is the largest state forest in Illinois. It is located in northern Mason County. The nearest town is Manito, Illinois and the nearest numbered highway is U.S. Highway 136. It is located on a low bluff, or "sand ridge", overlooking the Illinois River, hence the name.

The Sand Ridge State Forest largely dates back to 1939, when the state of Illinois purchased parcels of submarginal sandy farmland for conservation purposes. The Civilian Conservation Corps planted pine trees on much of the land. Today, the state forest contains of dryland oak-hickory woodlands, of pine woodlands, and of open fields and sand prairies, which include Pricky Pear Cactus, Opuntia.

Sand Ridge is managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as open space for active recreational purposes, especially whitetail deer hunting.

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