Planning to Partnership Notice

We are moving from planning to focusing on developing partnerships and working with local communities on natural resource conservation and stewardship, where and when it makes sense. Learn more and join us! 

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) NOTICE

Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you recreate responsibly.

Visit Us

National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. The Kolar Savanna Unit of the refuge provides an opportunity for visitors to experience an oak savanna. You are welcome to birdwatch and explore the woodlands and grasslands. The land is also open to deer and turkey hunting, in accordance with state regulations. When planning a trip to the refuge, it is important to know that there are no facilities located at the Kolar Savanna Unit other than a kiosk with visitor information. 

Kankakee National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area consists of the Kolar Savanna Unit, which is in the extreme northeast part of Iroquois County, immediately east of Iroquois County Conservation Area at the intersection of Kankakee County Roads 17000 E and 8000 S. The roads are unpaved, sandy and narrow, so caution is advised. If you're navigating with GPS, please enter the following coordinates for the visitor parking at the Kolar Savanna Unit: 41° 0'29.60"N, 87°32'31.33"W 

Directions

From the north 

Take 1-57 south to Kankakee. Exit at Route 17, and go east (left) at the end of the ramp. Continue on Route 17 about 6 miles to the traffic light at Route 1. Turn right (south) on Route 1.In St. Anne, at the stop light on Route 1, go east (left) on W. Guertin Street. This becomes 7000 S Road, a good paved road. Continue on 7000 S to 17000 E, a sand road, where you turn right (south). Go just over 1 mile, past the intersection with 8000 S, to the parking lot on the left. 

From the east 

Take US 41 to Enos and turn right onto W 100 N. Go until the road ends at the state line and turn right (north). Go about one mile and follow the paved road as it makes a sharp left (west) onto 7000 S. Go one mile to 17000 E, turn left (south) and follow the directions above.

Fees

There is no charge to visit. 

Restrooms

Restrooms are not available at the refuge.

Points of Interest

The Kolar Savanna Unit provides an opportunity for visitors to experience an oak savanna. You are welcome to birdwatch and explore the forests and grasslands. The land is also open to deer and turkey hunting, in accordance with state regulations. At the visitor parking lot, we have a kiosk with more information about the refuge.

What to Do

If you have 15 minutes 

  • Browse the kiosk information, and take a short walk through the grassland or oak savanna. Try to spot a few birds or other animals. 

If you have one hour: 

  • Take a longer walk through the entire Kolar Savanna unit, and experience all that it has to offer. You may see many types of birds and other wildlife. 

If you have half a day or more: 

  • During the proper season, plan a visit to hunt for deer or turkey

Know Before You Go

When planning a trip to the refuge, it is important to know that there are no facilities located at the Kolar Savanna Unit. Please plan accordingly. 

 Consider bringing:

  • Sturdy shoes  
  • A hat  
  • Water  
  • Sunscreen  
  • Insect repellent  
  • Binoculars  
  • Field guides 

Visitor Tips

Plan your trip based on what you would like to see. If you want to see migratory birds, come in the spring or fall. If you want to see turkeys, woodpeckers or other resident wildlife, the best time to visit is late spring, summer or early fall. Dawn and dusk are the best times of the day to view most wildlife. Remember though, the refuge is only open 30 minutes before sunrise and closes 30 minutes after sunset.

Activities

National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. The Kolar Savanna Unit of the refuge provides an opportunity for visitors to experience an oak savanna. You are welcome to birdwatch and explore the woodlands and grasslands. The land is also open to deer and turkey hunting, in accordance with state regulations. When planning a trip to the refuge, it is important to know that there are no facilities located at the Kolar Savanna Unit other than a kiosk with visitor information. 

Trails

Kolar Savanna Trail 

Open season: Open year round: Walking spring to fall, snow shoeing and cross-country skiing in winter. Not open to biking, horseback riding or motorized vehicles. 
Length: 0.68 miles 
Surface and difficulty: Natural, Mowed 
Information: The Kolar Savanna trail begins and ends at the parking area near the kiosk and winds through several types of habitat, including prairie, sand flatwoods and oak savanna. 

Rules and Policies

Kankakee National Wildlife Refuge offers many opportunities for public use including hunting, wildlife observation, photography, walking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The refuge is open to public use during daylight hours only. Refuge hunting regulations generally follow applicable Illinois state seasons and regulations - some special regulations apply.  

To ensure your safety and protect wildlife and habitat, please be aware of our rules and regulations. Please consult the refuge manager by phone at 815-678-4532 (ext. 8206) or by email at kankakee@fws.gov for more information.

Locations

Kankakee National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area
7999 S17000E Rd Pembroke Township, IL 60958
Hours
Kolar Savanna Unit Hours
Year-round
30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset