Welcome to Central and Westernmost Illinois
District 6 covers a region from just east of Springfield near the state’s geographical center to Quincy and westernmost Illinois. Counties covered are Adams, Brown, Cass, Christian, Hancock, Logan, Macoupin, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, and Scott as well as portions of adjacent counties. While you are cycling in this region, we invite you to stop and take in many of the scenic and historic wonders of this region.
Like much of Illinois, this is farm country. Terrain in this region ranges from mostly flat in the north and east to rolling hills and valleys in the south and west. Glaciers are responsible for the flatness while rivers and streams have carved in spots hills, knobs, and valleys. Hilly areas and valleys tend to be tree covered—adding variety to the terrain. Between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, the terrain is very rolling, with deeper valleys, knolls, and bluffs. The hilliest portion of this region is in Calhoun County bordered by the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. As in most of the rest of the state, corn and soybeans are the principal crops. There’s a quiet and majestic beauty to a narrow country road in September surrounded by corn stalks taller than most people.
Lakes, Rivers, and Other Bodies of Water
This area is dominated by two great navigable waterways: the Mississippi and the Illinois Rivers. There are a number of places along river towns for boat access. Swimming and waterskiing on the rivers are popular with area residents. In the eastern part of the region are a number of small recreation lakes. Three of them, Beaver Dam, Coffeen Lake, and Sangchris Lake, have a state parks. Other recreational lakes include Otter Lake, Gillespie Lake, Lake Lou Yeager, and Lake Glen Shoals in Macoupin and Montgomery Counties.
Plants and Animals
There are plenty of opportunities to view wildlife in recreation and conservation areas an near lakes and rivers.
At one time this land was covered by a sea of tallgrass prairie. Big blue stem and other tall grasses grew to a height of nearly 7 feet. Only a few small stands of tall grass prairie still exist; however, a notable expanse of sand prairie remains at San Prairie Scrub Oak in Mason County. The cactus and flowering forbs provide a colorful display in the mid to late-summer.
Wildlife common to the area includes white-tailed deer, skunks, coyotes, and a variety of small mammals. Although snakes such as garter snakes and bull snakes are abundant, poisonous snakes are very uncommon in this region.
The more majestic birds found in this region are bald eagles concentrated in the Ray Norbit Fish & Wildlife Area along the Illinois River. The eagles winter here and roost in the protected bluffs along the river. A variety of other birds, including cardinals (the state bird) and blue jays are abundant.
Enjoy your trip in our beautiful state!