Combat the Climate Crisis with the Nation's First Climate Preserve
PDA supports changing the designation of Southern Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest, administered by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), to Shawnee National Park and Climate Preserve, under the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service (NPS). Federal legislation would transfer administration of these federally owned lands from USDA to NPS.
Mature deciduous forests store massive amounts of carbon, mitigating climate change. The Shawnee’s biological diversity, recreation areas, 80+ Illinois Natural Areas Inventory sites, seven Wilderness areas, and scenic landscapes are unmatched across Illinois.
The Midwest has few national parks. Tourism-based businesses have grown across Southern Illinois since logging was suspended in the Shawnee during the 1990s, providing positive, long-term economic impacts on the region.
National Preserves are areas often associated with national parks. Public hunting, trapping, fishing, backcountry camping, and other traditional uses are permitted. A National Climate Preserve is a new concept, preserving areas where forests grow as intact ecosystems, free from CO2-releasing resource extraction. This “proforestation” approach encourages carbon sequestration, thereby reducing climate change while providing recreational opportunities.
Please use our Action Alert to urge your Members of Congress to support federal legislation redesignating the Shawnee National Forest as the Shawnee National Park and Climate Preserve.