Emiquon once was the jewel of the Illinois River, nurturing diverse and abundant communities of native plants and animals in the complex system of backwater wetlands and lakes. Hundreds of nearby archeological sites, including Native American villages and ceremonial and burial mounds, are a quiet testimony to the abundant natural resources that supported more than 500 generations of civilization in this area.
In the late 1920s Thompson and Flag lakes were drained and converted to farmland. Today, after 80 years of farming, The Nature Conservancy has restored the lakes and they are returning to their natural beauty. The Emiquon Preserve visitor use area now offers exhibits, hiking, bird watching, canoeing, and fishing from non-motorized boats. Permits are required for water use and fishing and can be obtained at Dickson Mounds Museum.