Smack dab in the middle of the Mississippi Flyway, Crab Orchard Wilderness provides a winter feeding and resting area for an average of 40,000 Canada geese each year. Agriculture and logging in the early 1900s so depleted this region of forest, wetland, and grassland that wildlife could barely subsist here. The refuge and subsequently Wilderness was formed to restore an adequate ground for geese, ducks, wild turkeys, a multitude of white-tailed deer, and small mammals including coyotes, beavers, opossums, and raccoons.
Most people visit the Wilderness to bird-watch, hunt, and fish. Anglers cast a line for bass, bluegill, and crappie on Devil's Kitchen Lake and Little Grassy Lake. The Wilderness forms the southern tip of the refuge and encompasses sections of Little Grassy Lake and Devil's Kitchen Lake. Several parking lots and boat launches provide easy access to the water just outside the Wilderness. Within Crab Orchard Wilderness boundaries lie dramatic sandstone outcroppings, wood-lined creeks, and potential seclusion, but there are no maintained trails. Camping is restricted to designated campsites, of which there are none in the Wilderness area (except for preexisting camps for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts).
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Crab Orchard Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
(No official title, designates Fish and Wildlife Service wildernesses) - Public law 94-557 (10/19/1976) To designate certain lands as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System and to provide designation for certain lands as Wilderness Study Areas