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  Sam Parr - State Fish & Wildlife Area   

South Region

13225 East State Highway 33
Newton, IL 62448

trees beside the lake
Boating Hiking Hunting
Camping History Picnicking
Directions Horseback Riding Trails

For several decades the residents of Jasper County worked for a state park, assisted and encouraged by a former resident and conservationist, Sam Parr. In 1960, 72 acres of land approximately 3 miles northeast of Newton were acquired by the Department of Natural Resources and the Jasper County Conservation Area became a reality. Additional acquisitions have brought the total acreage to 1,180, including a 183-acre lake.

After the death of Sam Parr in 1966, the General Assembly changed the name from Jasper County to Sam Parr. The site was formally dedicated on May 12, 1972.


As in most of Illinois, the early inhabitants of this area were Native Americans. For nearly 1,000 years they fished and lived along the Embarrass River and hunted in nearby woodlands, including what is now Sam Parr State Fish and Wildlife Area.

The 1770s brought the French and the westward expansion of the American colonists, who pushed the Native Americans westward into Illinois in search for new lands. The Piankashaw finally settled in this area and they lived in comparative peace with the French who lived with them, adapting many of their ways. General Harrison, from Vincennes, Indiana, negotiated a treaty with the Piankashaws in 1812, whereby they gave up nearly one million acres of land to the United States government, including what is now Jasper county. Att he time about 140 Piankashaw Indians remained in the area.

The Lake

The dam built in 1971 impounds a 183-acre lake, which has a maximum depth of 28 feet and 9 miles of shoreline. Nestled in a rolling, timbered area the lake attracts nesting wood ducks and contains largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, crappie, channel catfish and bullhead. Two launching ramps are located on the west side of the lake.


Boats with maximum 10 HP motors are allowed on the lake, and canoes are popular. Boat dock rentals are available. Fishing access and parking also is available on the east side of the lake via a county road.


Facilities at Sam Parr include four picnic areas for day use, shelters in all picnic areas, more than 2 miles of foot trails and 13 miles of equestrian trails.


Class B/E, C & D, and youth camping are available.


Check with site staff for a list of huntable upland game species and hunting dates. Hunter Fact Sheet


From the north: Follow Rt. 130 south to Rt. 33 east. Turn east on Rt. 33 and go 1 mile to park entrance.
From the south: Follow Rt. 130 north to Rt 33 east. Turn east on Rt. 33 and go 1 mile to park entrance. From the west: Follow Rt. 33 east from Effingham 25 miles to park entrance. (2 mile east of Newton). From the east: Follow Rt. 33 west 21 mile from Robinson to park entrance.

  • While groups of 25 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.
  • At least one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
  • Pets must be kept on leashes at all times.
  • Actions by nature can result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park office before you make your trip.
  • We hope you enjoy your stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.
  • For more information on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs' Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
  • Telecommunication Device for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217) 782-9175 for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.

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