Shawnee National Forest in Illinois is the first site commemorated in 2016 with a United States quarter. It marks the 31st of 56 scheduled quarters from the U.S. Mint’s series of America the Beautiful coins which honors national parks and sites throughout the U.S. and its territories.
There are a few key dates for Illinois’s 2016 Shawnee National Forest Quarter include:
- its release into general circulation on February 1, 2016;
- its release in U.S. Mint-branded rolls and bags at www.usmint.gov, also on February 1, 2016; and
- its official launch ceremony by the U.S. Mint and the U.S. National Forest Service in the gymnasium at Southeastern Illinois College on February 4, 2016 at 10 a.m. CT.
Justin Kunz designed and Jim Licaretz sculpted the reverse or tails side of the Shawnee National Forest Quarter. This design was selected from among 6 candidates. It depicts a close view of Camel Rock with natural vegetation in the foreground and a red-tailed hawk soaring in the sky overhead. Surrounding the scene are inscriptions of SHAWNEE, ILLINOIS, E PLURIBUS UNUM and 2016.
Obverses of all America the Beautiful Quarters bear the same design — a portrait of George Washington, the first President of the United States, as designed by John Flanagan.
Each year, there are five quarters released as a part of the program of America the Beautiful Quarters. The other four quarters for 2016 honor Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, and Fort Sumter National Monument in South Carolina.
Shawnee National Forest Information
President Franklin D. Roosevelt established Shawnee National Forest of Illinois in 1939. It was created as a way to prevent further deforestation and erosion from farming and logging.
The area originally had a large concentration of trees, but much was lost with cutting by the logging industry and by farmers who attempted to grow crops. However, the land proved to be relatively unproductive for farming, which eventually led to the creation of the national forest and a project of re-seeding trees.
Today, reforestation is still in progress but visitors can also partake in a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Visitors can also encounter an abundance of mammals, birds, and other creatures.