A quarter century of Illinois Wilderness symbolized on the new Shawnee National Forest quarter dollar coin

Shawnee-reverse_150x150Today, February 4th, the U.S. Mint is set to release the Shawnee National Forest quarter dollar coin–an event brimming with symbolism.

The coin features the iconic Camel Rock, a unique sandstone formation resembling its namesake that overlooks the Garden of the Gods Wilderness. The camel standing sentry over Garden of the Gods is symbolic of the Illinois Wilderness Act that has been protecting seven Wilderness Areas within the Shawnee National Forest for a quarter century.

In the 1980’s, Sierra Club worked with other wilderness advocates and newly elected Congressman Glenn Poshard in a campaign that saw victory in the passage by Congress of the 1990 Illinois Wilderness Act.  The act designated Garden of the Gods and six other high quality roadless areas in Shawnee National Forest as “Wilderness” – to be preserved as areas that provide solitude or primitive recreation that renews the spirit.  Camel Rock now symbolizes that inspirational quality of “wilderness” – areas largely untouched by man.

This new 25 cent coin and the 25th anniversary of Illinois Wilderness are reminders to all who value these wilderness areas that we must be vigilant and respectful in order to maintain these valuable and unique parts of our state – for our families and for our future.

The release of the Shawnee National Forest quarter dollar coin — the 31st coin of the U.S. Mint America the Beautiful Quarters® Program — will take place at Southeastern Illinois College Gymnasium, 3575 College Road, Harrisburg, Illinois, on February 4 at 10 a.m. To find out how to obtain the new coin visit the U.S. Mint website.

To find out more about Wilderness in the Shawnee National Forest visit: http://illinoiswilderness.org/

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