|Map of Protected Areas of Illinois|
Each dot is linked to the corresponding article:
Parks; Forests; Recreation Areas;
Fish and Wildlife Areas; Natural Areas;
National Historic Sites and Trails
Illinois has a variety of protected areas, including 123 state protected areas - state parks, wildlife areas, recreation areas, nature reserves, and state forests. There are also federal and local level protected areas in the state. These levels interact to provide a variety of recreation opportunities and conservation schemes, sometimes in a small area. For instance, 1,500-acre (6.1 km2) Shabbona Lake State Park lies in DeKalb County which has its own 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) forest preserve system, while the city of DeKalb has a 700-acre (2.8 km2) park system. There is one UNESCO World Heritage Site in Illinois, Cahokia.
Illinois has a wide variety of state owned and administered protected areas: state parks, state forests, state recreation areas, state fish and wildlife areas, state natural areas, and one state trail. They are all administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. In addition, several of the state historic sites, administered by its Illinois Historic Preservation Division, also include nature reserves.
There is also one national forest, Shawnee National Forest, and several other sites administered by the National Park Service, including portions of National Trails. There are also National Wildlife Refuges.
- Bald Knob Wilderness
- Bay Creek Wilderness
- Burden Falls Wilderness
- Clear Springs Wilderness
- Crab Orchard Wilderness
- Garden of the Gods Wilderness
- Lusk Creek Wilderness
- Panther Den Wilderness
- Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie - 17,454 acres (70.63 km2)
- Shawnee National Forest - 500,000 acres (2,000 km2)
- Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge
- Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge - 43,500 acres (176 km2) including the 4,050-acre (16.4 km2) Crab Orchard Wilderness
- Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge
- Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge
- Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge
- Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge Complex
- Meredosia National Wildlife Refuge
- Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge
- Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge
There are no national parks in Illinois but the Parks Service operates the federally owned 12-acre (49,000 m2) Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois and the Pullman National Monument in Chicago. The Chicago Portage National Historic Site is a NPS-affiliated site which is located in the Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s Portage Woods and Ottawa Trail Woods units. In addition, the NPS partners in the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.
- Carlyle Lake - 26,000 acres (110 km2) of water and 11,000 acres (45 km2) of public land
- Illinois Waterway
- Lake Shelbyville - 11,100-acre (45 km2) lake and 23,000 acres (93 km2) of land
- Rend Lake - 18,900 acres (76 km2) of water and 20,000 acres (81 km2) of land
Around 50 usually smaller sites concerning historic structures are owned by the state and administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Division, some of which may have a nature preservation component, including the Cahokia World Heritage Site and Lincoln's New Salem. 
A variety of county and town protected areas exist in Illinois, including city park districts and county-wide Forest Preserve Districts. One of the largest systems is the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, which includes Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden as well as 69,000 acres (280 km2) of open land, or 11 percent of Cook County’s land area.
- Boone County Conservation District
- Byron Forest Preserve District - 900 acres (3.6 km2)
- Champaign County Forest Preserve District - 3,800 acres (15 km2)
- Forest Preserve District of Cook County - 69,000 acres (280 km2)
- DeKalb County Forest Preserve - 1,020 acres (4.1 km2)
- Forest Preserve District of DuPage County - 24,000 acres (97 km2)
- Forest Preserve District of Kane County - 17,135 acres (69.34 km2)
- Forest Preserves of the Kankakee River Valley - 250 acres (1.0 km2)
- Kendall County Forest Preserve District - 2,150 acres (8.7 km2)
- Lake County Forest Preserve - 26,200 acres (106 km2)
- Macon County Conservation District - 3,200 acres (13 km2)
- McHenry County Conservation District - 20,000 acres (81 km2)
- Putnam Country Conservation District - 950-acre (3.8 km2)
- Rock Island Forest Preserve District - 1,900 acres (7.7 km2)
- Vermilion County Conservation District - 6,000 acres (24 km2)
- Forest Preserve District of Will County - 21,916 acres (88.69 km2)
- Winnebago County Forest Preserve District - 9,000 acres (36 km2)
- "State Parks & Outdoor Recreation". Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
- "Bohm Woods Nature Preserve". Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
- "Cape Bend State Fish and Wildlife Area". Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
- " Conserving the Land: The Rock River Country Archived 2005-04-19 at the Wayback Machine.," Critical Trends Assessment Program, Rock River Country Project ( "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-04-19. Retrieved 2007-07-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title ( link)), Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 3 July 2007.
- "Visit a State Historic Site". Illinois Historic Preservation Division. Retrieved 3 December 2018.