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Counties spotlight nature

Website provides details to arrange visits

QC Wild Places brings the great outdoors into one easily accessible spot – the Internet. It is up to the explorer to put this information into an action plan to get outside and see what the area offers.

These are the natural areas – the places where daily life can be left behind and replaced with nature's beckoning call.

A slew of locations makes a complete list lengthy and choices numerous. The wild places can be found in Carroll, Henry, Mercer, Rock Island, and Whiteside counties in Illinois, and in Clinton, Muscatine, and Scott counties in Iowa.

Concentrating closest to home, Sauk Valley residents no doubt will be familiar with the Carroll and Whiteside stops. Lock and Dam 13 is 4 miles north of Fulton along state Route 84. The area is known for its winter eagle watching and views of the Mississippi River. This location is a good place to view wildlife, too. Managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the site has limited primitive camping, a picnic shelter, and a boat ramp.

Thomson Causeway at Lewis Avenue and Main Street in Carroll County is also in the hands of the corps. Visitors will find the Great River Bike Trail (hikers welcome), camping, fishing, a boat ramp, river views, Potter's Marsh, and playgrounds.

The park is on an island on the Mississippi. Birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles make their homes there. Evidence of woodland Native Americans also can be found.

Moving out farther, there are 11 sites in Clinton County, 18 in Muscatine County, 11 in Scott County, two in Henry County, two in Mercer County, and 14 in Rock Island County. The website lists each location, what is available, and where to find the spot.

Here is a brief look at three of the locations:

n Bulger's Hollow, 5 miles north of Clinton, Iowa: This park is along the Mississippi River and between it and limestone cliffs.

n Clark's Ferry Recreation Area in Montpelier, Iowa: Camping with electricity, boat ramp, along the Mississippi, good for wildlife viewing, and has Important Bird Area status.

n Smith's Island Nature Trail, Pleasant Valley, Iowa: nature trail, canoe-kayak trail head, bird viewing platform, and shore fishing areas. Species of lowland forest habitats can be seen.

Whether wanting to see the familiar with new eyes or discover something completely new, QC Wildplaces is worth looking into.

If you go ...

What: Quad City Wild Places

When: Anytime. Park hours vary

Where: A variety of locations

Cost: Varies

Information: or John Knoble at 309-794-4523 for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites


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