Outdoor Classroom Complete at Visitor Center

November 14, 2022

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Carlyle Lake announce the completion of an accessible outdoor classroom located behind the Carlyle Lake Visitor Center in the Dam West Recreation Area. The outdoor classroom consists of a 36’ x 54’ concrete pad with 24 benches and a 20’ x 30’ amphitheater shelter. This facility was made possible with the support of eight partners and the USACE Handshake Partnership Program.

The Carlyle Lake Project was awarded $25,000 in 2020 from USACE headquarters in Washington, D.C. This seed money is used to enhance recreation projects through community partnerships. The staff at Carlyle Lake partnered with Bayer U.S., Boy Scouts Troop 281, Bromley Excavating, Carlyle Lake Ducks Unlimited, Carlyle Lake 50th Anniversary Committee, Carlyle Lake Association, City of Carlyle, and Schaefer Contracting to complete this enhancement project.

The new accessible classroom will be utilized by the Corps of Engineers for interpretive/educational programs, the City of Carlyle, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), local school groups, boy scout and girl scout troops, local sportsmen and outdoor groups, and members of the public. This facility will provide visitors an accessible and unique interpretive experience, increase awareness of Corps missions, and more recreational opportunities, all taking place in a natural setting. Outdoor classrooms help restore the traditional benefits of childhood, while addressing many of the challenges we face today. They encourage visitors to be outside and more active, connect visitors to nature, and provide a wide range of recreational activities that support overall development. The accessible outdoor classroom will provide visitors the opportunity to learn from interpreters and naturalists in a setting that allows them to truly connect with nature. Visitors will be exposed to a variety of recreational opportunities including fishing, hiking, biking, geocaching, and the joy of the outdoors.

For more information on Carlyle Lake, contact the Carlyle Lake Project Office at (618) 594-2484 or email at carlylelake@usace.army.mil.

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