The United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters™ Program will feature the 2016 Shawnee National Forest Quarter as its first strike for that year. These coins will also mark the thirty-first in a series of 56 under the program which launched in 2010.
Under the terms of the program, the designs of all of the quarters in the series must feature a site of national interest with one chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and the United States territories. Unfortunately, if the Mint follows its standard procedures, the final design for the Shawnee coin along with the other 2016 strikes will not be known until the first part of that same year. Design candidates for the coins, however, should be released for review sometime in the first quarter of 2015.
As the first quarter of the year, it should enter general circulation in January or February of 2016 through the Federal Reserve Bank system.
Additional 2016 America the Beautiful Quarter releases for the year include:
- Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Quarter
- Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Quarter
- Theodore Roosevelt National Historical Park Quarter
- Fort Moultrie (Sumter) National Monument Quarter
Shawnee National Forest of Illinois
Shawnee National Forest is located in the Ozark and Shawnee Hills of southern Illinois. Unlike most of the rolling plains of the state, this area was not completely covered by glacial sheets leaving its topography full of rich stone bluffs and scenic overlooks to the lowland areas below.
The Forest encompasses about 265,000 acres and ranges in elevation from 325 feet above sea level (the flood plains of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers) up to the highest point in the park at 1,064 feet, Williams Hill.
Visitors to the forest enjoy activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, picnicking and even horse-back riding on the trails.
Wildlife lovers are treated to a plethora of amazing creatures in the forest area. It is estimated that at least 4 dozen different species of mammals live in Shawnee along with over 200 species of birds and 100 plus varieties of fish.
A feature known as Hicks Dome is located within the Shawnee boundaries but is not currently United States property. Most currently believe the dome was created by an extraterrestrial impact of an asteroid.