Thursday, May 17, 2018

20 Day Trips in and around the Shawnee National Forest (Shawnee Books) Paperback – April 15, 2013 by Larry P. Mahan and Donna J. Mahan (Southern Illinois University Press)

Finding detailed information online about national forests is not as easy as it is for national parks. The Forest Service websites just don't have as much information and aren't as user friendly as the National Park Service websites. That's where this book comes in. It provides in depth descriptions of trails, landmarks, and other prominent features in and around Shawnee National Forest, including distance and duration of hikes, trail difficulty, and available facilities. It is divided up into 20 trips that are designed to give you a full day's worth of activity, so most of the trips contain more than one hike or place to visit. Many include stops in some of the unique small towns in the area, so if hiking trails all day isn't your cup of tea, the book still has plenty of suggestions for fun things to do. The trips are labeled as 1-20 in the text, and each one is also marked on the book's map by its number so you can easily see where each is located within the forest. The book also contains QR codes for each trip that can be scanned with a smartphone, which will then show you the day trip's starting point on Google Maps. Full color photos throughout the text provide a small sample of the scenery you can expect. There is some information on camping in the area, but not much. Given that providing information on day trips was the intention of the authors, camping is really beyond the scope of the book anyway. Another nice little feature of the book is the authors have provided contact information for nearly every place and organization they mention, and they even include emergency contact information at the back of the book such as police phone numbers and hospital locations. The bottom line is that this is a well thought out, well organized guide book and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is planning to visit Shawnee National Forest.

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