Ray Norbut State Fish and Wildlife Area is a 1,140-acre mosaic of bottomlands, woodlands, wetlands, open fields, steep hills, rocky ravines, hollows, brushy draws and bluffs. Located along the Illinois River, it lies 5 miles east of Griggsville and 2 miles south of Valley City in Pike County. Big Blue Island, a narrow, 100-acre strip of land in the river, is part of the site. Other notable geographic features are two west-east flowing streams--Blue Creek, a river tributary, and the spring-fed Napoleon Hollow Creek.
This site provides exceptional habitat for a wide range of harvestable, non-harvestable, uncommon, threatened or endangered plants and animals. Examples are the bald eagle, a winter resident of the wooded blufflands, and the jeweled shooting star, a rare pre-glacial relict wildflower species. To provide a refuge for the eagles, portions of the bluff areas are closed to the public seasonally.
Oak and hickory are the dominant tree species in a woodland that also contains red cedar, red and white oak, sugar maple, ironwood, blue beech and, in the bottomlands, abundant willow, cottonwood and silver maple. The oak/hickory community is the highest quality forest in the region and supports a diverse assemblage of wildlife.
Forests, bluffs and limestone outcroppings are rich in wildflowers and ferns. Among the wildflowers are hepatica, Dutchman’s breeches, spring beauties, toothwort, yellow bellwort, trout lily, trillium, wild ginger, larkspur, phlox, wild petunia, Venus looking glass and Mayapple. The ferns include cliffbrake, Christmas and woolly lip species.
Although intended primarily for public hunting, the area also beckons hikers and nature enthusiasts with several undeveloped trails, one of which has a trailhead parking lot. Fishing is permitted, too, in the Illinois River and Blue Creek.
No facilities or programs exist for camping, picnicking, horseback riding, water sports, winter activities or other recreational pursuits.
- 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.