February 2011 — With the New Year, I want to remind Emiquon visitors that 2010 "Boating and Fishing" permits have expired. I also want to let visitors know the permits have been renamed "Lake Access" permits, which cover access for boating, fishing and ice skating. Permits are free, valid until December 2011 and can be found at the Dickson Mounds Museum, which is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas).
In an effort to protect habitat and promote public safety, we've developed rules visitors are responsible to follow while boating, fishing and ice skating. When receiving your permit, you'll be given a complete set of rules [202KB PDF], but here are a couple to know before you arrive. Gas-powered motors, bank fishing or gas-powered augers are not allowed. Also, children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and have a permit signed by a parent or legal guardian. A parent or legal guardian must be present with the child on the date of the permit signing.
I'm excited for visitors to see Emiquon during the winter. This is the time of year when bald eagles begin to nest, and they can be seen by the hundreds on the Illinois River and at Emiquon, in the trees and across the sky.
On February 5, I encourage visitors to attend the Eagle Day Festival at the Dickson Mounds Museum. This event is free to the public and will be full of activities, including a youth "Birds in the Past" scavenger hunt, a one-hour presentation with live birds of prey, guided eagle spotting on the Havana riverfront and a showing of the American Eagle movie.
Anyone interested in the Eagle Day Festival can call (309) 547.3721 or TTY (217) 782.9175 or visit the museum's web site for more information.