State Forests

Lowden-Miller State Forest

Nestled in the Rock River Valley, 3 miles south of Oregon, lies a 2,291 acre wooded area, one of Ogle County’s most beautiful and historic sites.  Its scenic qualities come from 120 foot bluffs along 3.5 miles of riverfront forested with hardwood and pine trees.

Since 1992, the tract of land has been known as the Lowden-Miller State Forest.  Prior to that time, Gov. Lowden and his wife, Florence Pullman Lowden, referred to this paradise as Sinnissippi Forest from an American Indian term meaning “rocky river” or “troubled waters.”   It was part of a large and diverse farming operation which incorporated native hardwoods, pasture, and sandy farmland.  Lowden experimentally planted white pines and other tree species to see what would productively grow.  The earliest plantings of white pines were here before 1910, and they are believed to be the oldest in the state.

The governor remained an avid student of forestry throughout his life.  In 1938, he invited the new forestry department at the University of Illinois to conduct research on the developing forest.  Today, with nearly 80 % of all data on IL hardwood forest growth having been developed at Sinnissippi, the forest still serves as a field laboratory for the university.

In June of 1992, the State of Illinois purchased a 1,186 parcel of forest from a grandson of Gov. and Mrs. Lowden, Warren P. Miller and his wife, Nancy.  Warren’s brother, Phillip Lowden Miller and his wife, Bonnie, sold an additional 1,039 acres to the state in 1993.  In offering their land to the state rather than having it subdivided or rezoned for development, the family stated they were achieving their goal of keeping the area an actively managed forest and preservation of beauty for future generations.

Lowden-Miller State Forest offers visitors the opportunity to participate in many recreational activities: hunting, hiking, nature trails, equestrian trails, and camping.

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