Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By John Jarosik
Biking, camping, fishing, boating, and hiking. These are just some of the many attractions and activities that one can do during the summer at Lake Shelbyville in Shelbyville, Illinois.
“It’s a nice lake, I go up about once a week,” local Chris Senteney said.
Lake Shelbyville is home to many activities that are family oriented and can lead to many family memories for people of all ages and with different enjoyments.
“I’ve lived her for 83 years and I like to watch the people and the wild,” local Kaenneth Root said.
With many attractions and land for activities, there’s no denying why the lake has four camp-sites that are in the top 100 in the state of Illinois with Coon Creek being the 23 ranked campground in the state according to tripleblaze.com.
With these four sites: Coon Creek, Lithia Springs, Forrest W. Bo Wood, and Lone Point, Lake Shelbyville has the second most amount of camp sites in the top 100 according to tripleblaze.com.
“I go up with my two kids and go to Robin Woods which is a great place,” Senteney said.
Since being dedicated over 40 years ago, Lake Shelbyville still brings in millions of people per year, and has become a great tourist attraction for many people as-well-as been a vital point to many of the locals.
“I would bring my family but I’m the last one but it’s a good place to bring them to,” Root said.
One of the great additions to the lake itself has been the General Dacey Trail. This trail stretches around the entire lake and gives individuals and families the chance to walk, jog, hike, camp, and see great sights of nature.
“I ride my bike all over the trail,” said Root.
This trail that opened in 2006 just finished its last phase in 2014 and now has seven different phases of land that each has its own camping site, according to the lake’s website.
One of the most popular things that happens at the lake is fishing. In fact, Lake Shelbyville was selected by Bassmaster Magazine as one of the best bass lakes in Illinois.
“I come here 3-4 time a year and catch musky,” out of town resident Mike Fallert said.
The lake itself has over 50 different fishing tournaments throughout the summer and the fall, starting in April and running through October.
“The lake has easy access, and you can go up and down the bank,” Fallert said.
“I like fishing, it’s a great experience,” Sentency said.
The area around the lake has also expanded to having golf courses that are 30 minutes from the lake itself and has eight total hiking trails around it. The longest trail being the Wolf Creek Trails that is 15 miles long.
In addition, the lake now has three public beaches and an aquatic center so kids and families can swim, relax, and catch some sun.
As time goes on, people from this small town continue to come and enjoy their time at the lake. With its expansions, the lake is now on the map and something worth seeing.