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Get outside and have a ball, no matter the season … Carmi offers opportunity and access to outdoor fun, year ’round post image

A lot of Carmians love to be outdoors, and the City of Carmi does its part by offering several recreational opportunities. For the young there are parks and playgrounds, as well as Summer League sports. Burrell Park offers walking and running trails, camper hookups as well as tent camping, picnic facilities and countless tall, shady trees to stretch out beneath.

You can fish as Burrell Park as well, find a spot along the banks of the Little Wabash River to wet a hook, or take advantage of the city’s boat dock for boat fishing.

Those who like to bicycle will love Carmi’s quiet streets, or for those with a bit more stamina, easy access to miles and miles of country roads, though gently rolling farmland. Or for those who like to take it easy, you’re only a few minutes from that Sunday country drive.

Further afield, you’re a short distance from Dolan Lake and Recreational Area, Hovey Lake Federal Wildlife Area, Beall’s Woods and an hour’s drive to the Shawnee National Forest, which contains mile after mile of the wooded foothills of the Ozark mountains, stone bluffs and the best fall foliage imaginable.

Not to mention for boating and ski buffs – you’re only a short distance from the Big Wabash River, the Ohio River and Rend Lake.

Burrell Park: A forty acre gift to the city from one of its founders continues to give back to the community

IMG_1299Orlando Burrell was 8 years old when his family arrived in Carmi, Illinois. Within two years both his parents were dead. Even at the age of 10 he worked hard. He chopped wood for 25 cents a cord in order to pay for his schooling. When he was older he farmed and learned the carpenter’s trade.

In 1859 he, along with 12 other wagons, headed west to make their fortune in gold. He remained in California for 1 year then returned to Carmi. Over the years he had many responsible and respectable jobs.He was an officer in the Civil War, a Judge in the county, Mayor of Carmi, Sheriff for the county and served as U.S. Representative in the 54th Congress for one term. Burrell represented Carmi and White County well in all of these jobs.

In 1921 at the age of 94 Orlando Burrell died. In his will, Burrell bequeathed 40 acres of ground to the “town” “for use as a park”. Along with the 40 acres he deposited $9000 in the White County Bank (at 2% interest) to provide a fund for the park’s maintenance.

Camping Area

Today Burrell Park has 25 campsites with concrete pads, 50 AMP and 30 AMP electric hook-up, water and a sanitary sewer. Nearly ever site is shaded and firewood is included in the $16.00 nightly price. There is a modern bathhouse with 4 showers each, hand dryers, hair dryers and private dressing areas equipped with handicapped sinks, toilets and showers. Camping with all amenities April 15 thru October 15. Camping is permitted year round (shower house is closed during winter)

A shelter for picnics is in the camp area and is equipped with grills, electricity and water. Tent camping sites are $8.00 per night.

Halloween at Burrell Park has become a yearly tradition and camp sites sell out quickly. There’s a campsite decoration contest, as well as pumpkin carving, trick or treating and a costume judging for kids and adults alike.

We believe that Orlando Burrell would be very proud of the progress and beauty this park has taken over the years. We hope you will visit in person someday but for now enjoy our photo tour of “Burrell’s Woods” as it is know to many Carmians.

Picnicking Area

There are 5 more shelters in the park that are used for picnicking. Each shelter is equipped with water, electricity and grills for cooking. There are 4 children’s play areas near these shelters. Three handicapped restroom facilities are centrally located between picnic areas.

A small fishing pond is available for bank fishing only. The pond is stocked with bass, catfish and bluegill. Just behind the pond and over the bridge is a quiet, peaceful walking trail. This trail, which will bring you just a little closer to nature, is approximately ¼ mile long and not a hard walk for most people.

General Information:

All the roads through out the park are paved.

  • Camping open April 15 thru October 15
  • Other park areas open year round
  • Two miles from city limits
  • City owned and operated
  • The Carmi Police Department patrols the park.

For more information call 382-2693 (7 a..m. – 4:00 p.m. M-F)


The Carmi Pool offers a refreshing respite from the summer heat to many local youth. Our own Carmi Bullfrogs swim team calls the pool home and hosts many meets that bring in visitors to our town. Lessons are available by contacting the pool and the pool may be rented for private parties.
200 State Street (Eckerle Park)
Phone (618) 382-8411
HOURS: 1 PM to 6 PMFEE: $2.00 for all ages to swim; Coupon Books $20.00 (15 admissions)
PARTIES: 7 PM TO 9 PM M-T-W-TH (only) $125.00