Top U.S. Flatwater: Midwest

Cache River: Southern Illinois

The Cache River flows through southern Illinois, the heart of the Midwest. This is the region of farmlands, where one can find traces of both northern and southern culture. Beyond human culture, the ecology combines the north and the south. This is an edge zone, where biodiversity is at its richest. Through an effort of government and local citizens, much of this area has recently been protected in a system of agricultural lands with easements, state parks, and at the core of it all— Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Perhaps the most dramatic species present within the refuge are the bald cypress and water tupelo trees, considered to be the oldest stand of trees east of the Mississippi River. The largest cypress trees may be over 1,000 years old. And the hits just keep on coming: More than 400 plants of every type continue to survive within the Cache River floodplain, plus hundreds of birds, 85 different fin fish, and 47 different mammals. In short, the joint is jumpin'.


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