Description - *This information was provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources*
Rolling hills, timbered shoreline, and beautiful Ramsey Lake make this state recreation area a unique and popular recreation spot. Visitors will enjoy the picturesque woods, secluded picnic areas and excellent fishing and hunting opportunities. Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area is the perfect place for people who want to relax or for those energetic outdoor types who want to hike, hunt, fish or camp. The park is located one mile northwest of Ramsey in Fayette County.
Ramsey Lake has a colorful background. For years, the park was known as "Old Fox Chase Grounds" because of its use by fox and coon hunters. It also was the site of one of the largest dog trial events, which was held near the big springs at the northwest corner of the present lake. Other events, such as dances, carnivals and a large machinery display attracted many people. Although privately owned by S.E. Stokes, the site often was used by various groups for public recreational use. In 1947, 815 acres were purchased for a lake site and an additional 1,000 acres have been added since. Throughout the years, county and township officials, concerned citizens and civic groups have actively helped to secure land and upgrade and maintain the area which is now 1,980 acres.
Campers have many sites from which to choose to pitch a tent or park a trailer. The area includes 90 campsites available with a sanitary disposal station, electricity, and a flush toilet and shower building. Another 24 sites are available with electricity for organized groups. Hickory Grove is the choice for those needing only picnic tables, fire pads and privies. Hickory Grove also has 45 sites available in a densely wooded area with unequalled views of shady trees and natural beauty. Water hydrants are conveniently placed throughout the campgrounds. A special site is available for organized youth groups. Reservations are available for portions of the campgrounds. Contact the site office for information.
A one-mile trail winds through the park. Visitors also often use the unmarked fire lanes which make good paths for easy walking.
A 13-mile horse trail is located in the north end of the area along with a small campground for horses. This area is one mile north of the park entrance.
Recreation - Picnicking-
For large groups, Shady Grove and Lakeview Picnic areas offer ideal surroundings. Both have shelters, water, tables, stoves and privies. Shady Grove also has playground equipment. For people who prefer smaller, more secluded picnics, Fox Knoll, Coon Ridge and Blackberry Fork Picnic areas are popular choices. These sites have tables and stoves and are located in shady areas on knolls overlooking the lake.
Fishing is a favorite pastime for Ramsey Lake visitors. To maintain a desirable fish population, the lake is managed by draw-downsand stocking. Some of the species include largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish and black crappie. Fishing supplies are available at the concession stand.
A launching ramp and boat dock are conveniently located on Ramsey Lake. Boats are also available for rental. Gas motors are not allowed, but electric trolling motors are permitted. Fishing is also allowed on several ponds located at the site as well as on Ramsey Lake.
Hunters will find abundant game at Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area. Dove, squirrel, quail and pheasant can be hunted with shotgun. Deer can be hunted with bow only. A controlled pheasant and quail program is run during the hunting season. Other hunting dates and times may differ from state regulations.
Winter activities are also popular at Ramsey Lake. Ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, sledding and ice skating are among recreational activities for the cold weather sports enthusiast. The 13-mile designated snowmobile trail provides a winter wonderland view of the park when snow cover and weather permits.
Climate - Illinois experiences four distinct seasons with varying weather throughout the year. Winter can be very cold. The highest humidity of the year occurs during this season averaging 70 to 75 percent. Average low temperatures in January dip to 20 degrees F with highs near 35 degrees F. Spring temperatures are mild with humidity below 70 percent. Temperatures during this season average between 32 and 50 degrees F. Summer is usually hot and humid in this Midwest state. Low temperatures remain in the low sixties with high temperatures near 90 degrees F. The highest rainfall of the year occurs during the summer months. Fall is an excellent time to visit the state with low humidity and rainfall and moderate temperatures.
The park is located one mile northwest of Ramsey in Fayette County.