This unit forms the northernmost boundary
of the Cypress Creek NWR and includes some of the higher elevations (500 feet
msl) on the Refuge as well as approximately 1100 acres of low, poorly drained
The area is drained by Cypress Creek
which flows into the Cache River south of the Perks Road. The acquisition
boundary of this unit covers 6,000 acres, and Cypress Creek has purchased 3,400
acres to date.
Of the purchased acreage 1,611
acres have been restored to forest and wetland. Restored areas include Cypress
Pond and Hickory Bottoms.
Cypress Pond, located off of Cypress
Road, features a short forested trail that leads to the Cypress pond fishing
Platform may be used to fish or
observe wildlife such as turkey, deer and a wide variety of birds.
Hickory bottoms, located off Mount
Olive Road, offers a 200 acer tract of contiguous forest and a 1.5 acre trail.
This area has gained national
recognition for its songbird population, and is a popular hunting and wildlife
Limekiln Slough Unit
This unit includes approximately
6,600 acres. The area includes 4,500 acres of agriculture and is bounded on the
east, south, and west by low hills.
The area is drained by Limekiln
Slough which empties into the Cache River. The central portion of the unit
historically was a large floodplain forest dominated by oaks and hickories
until it was cleared in the 1970’s.
To date the Refuge owns 1,500 acres
of which 850 acres have been restored to forest and wetlands.
Limekiln Slough Unit contains the
scenic Limekiln Trail which includes 2 boardwalks that wind through the swamp.
Included in the Limekiln Slough Unit is East Access to Limekiln Trail and the
Limekiln Springs Trail-East Access
Access to the east side of Limekiln
Springs Trail is located off of Long Reach Road, the trail ends on the west end
at Cache Chapel Road. The trail does not loop.
The trail is rated at moderate
difficulty and includes limestone outcrops, floodplain forest, multiple springs
and 2 boardwalks.
This location provides quality
habitat to a plethora of plant and animal species.
This 320-acre wetland highlights
waterfowl, shorebirds, and a diversity of wetland species.
Opportunities exist for wildlife
observation and hunting during the year.
Access into the area is off
mallard Lane, east of Century High School.
This unit’s acquisition boundary
covers 5,276 acres, 1,136 of these acres have been purchase by Cypress Creek
Refuge. Of the purchased land 750 has been restored to forest and wetland
Within the Cache River Unit is
Buttonland Swamp which is owned jointly by Illinois Department of Natural
Resources and the Refuge. In addition, Cypress Creek’s acquisition territory
forms a buffer around this section of river which widens with the gradual fall
of 6-12 inches per mile.
Historically, this section of the
river featured wide expanse of open water with depths of more than 10 feet.
Within the last century land clearing and channelizations to increase drainage
has resulted in excessive silt and sediment deposition eliminating this deep
water. In 2002, approximately 1 mile of river within this unit was dredged to
remove sediment and initiate deep-water habitat restoration.
Today this portion of the river
contains areas dominated by old-growth bald cypress and water tupelo trees, as
well as button bush, making it a popular destination for canoeing, kayaking and
This unit contains Lower Cache Access,
Buttonland Swamp Access and Eagle Pond, as well as Limekiln Trail West Access.
- Buttonland Swamp/Eagle Pond
Canoe trails wind and loop through
this area, granting boaters access to views of ancient bald cypress, such as
the 109 knee cypress tree in Eagle Pond, and in the main channel of the Cache
Eagle Pond is an area of open water
within Buttonland Swamp. Rimmed with stands of tupelo trees, eagle pond is a
great spot for birders, boaters, and nature photographers.
- Limekiln Springs Trail West Access
West access to the Limekiln Springs
Trail is located off of Cache Chapel Road (for east access see above).
This 2.5 mile the trail ends on the
east end at Long Reach Road. The trail is rated at moderate difficulty and does
Some of the trail features include
limestone outcrops, floodplain forest, multiple springs and 2 boardwalks.
Springs in this location maintain
water in the swamp, which provides habitat to a multitude of fish, amphibians
and reptiles, along with birds and other species.
Butter Ridge Unit
This area contains 5,936 acres of
which 60% are in agricultural production. Currently CCNWR owns 2,281 which
include the 1,000 acre Frank Bellrose Waterfowl Reserve. This 1000 acre area is
closed to the public and includes 400 acres of moist soil wetlands, which are
intensively managed as a sanctuary for migrating birds.
Both Big Creek and Little Creek
enter the Cache through the Butter Ridge Unit. Big Creek has a relatively steep
hydrologic gradient and drains a basin that covers 52 square miles. The
channelized lower reach of this tributary bisects the Bellrose Reserve and
enters the Cache River.
The viewing platform is located off
of Cache Chapel Road and provides an area to observe wildlife year-round.
Wildlife in this area includes such species as deer, beaver, mink, kingfisher
and other birds.
Indian Camp Creek Unit
This unit is low, flat and primarily
river floodplain, it includes approximately 3,000 acres with 1,208 acres in
agriculture (primarily private land).
Extensive channelization between
the towns of Ullin and Tamm’s cut-off many of the historic river meanders from
the main river channel. To date the Refuge owns approximately 1,000 acres which
includes floodplain forest and wetlands.
Sandy Creek and Lake Creek Units
These units include 7,432 acres and
form a relatively narrow corridor along the Cache River from the town of Tamms
to the Mississippi Diversion.
Cypress Creek National Wildlife
Refuge owns approximately 5,700 acres with 300 acres in agriculture. The
remaining acreage has been restored to floodplain forest and wetlands.
Cache River Bend Access provides
the only access to the main channel of the Cache river for boats (10mph limit).
Boat access is located on Morris
Road, east of Sandusky, IL. Low water levels in summer may make boat access
Old Cache Channel Unit
This unit has an acquisition
boundary of 2,537 acres, with 1,038 in Refuge ownership. The majority of this
unit contains low, poorly drained bottomlands. The Old Cache River Channel
forms the south boundary of this unit.
In 1950 a ditch was cut on the west
end of the channel diverting water from Cache River directly into the
Mississippi thus abandoning approximately 6 miles of river channel that empties
into the Ohio River. Prior to Refuge ownership, the United States Army Corps of
Engineers (USACE) has maintained a floodgate into the Ohio River (on the east
end of the old channel).
The USACE with the cooperation of
the Cairo Drainage District, are currently responsible for manipulating water
levels in the channel to maintain drainage and flood control. When the gates
are open and the Ohio River is down, water levels may drop to 2 inches or less.
This unit contains the Old Cache
Channel Access and Cache Levee Access
Located off of Route 51 and Redmond
Road, this is a popular place for fishing and wildlife observation. This
location provides boat access to 3 miles of river channel. Bald cypress, river
birch and other floodplain species border the river.
Cache Levee Access is located off of
Route 3, south of Rout 127 and also provides access to the Old Cache Channel. A
silt bar to the east helps to maintain water levels.
This location is generally used for
canoeing, fishing, hunting and wildlife observation.
For more information on the
management units, please contact Cypress Creek Refuge at 618-634-2231. For an
overview of features and access points visit our maps page.