Destination Illinois: Sankoty Lakes

Destination Illinois

The pandemic stopped many of us from heading out for a little rest and relaxation. But while we were at home, an old gravel put was transformed into a new resort.

It’s a location specializing in ‘glamour camping’ and fly fishing. It’s only about an hour and a half from Champaign on I-74.

Since December of 2019, workers have been moving dirt at this location in Woodford County, near Spring Bay, Illinois — population 452. Other crews constructed roads, poured concrete and foundations, built buildings, moved rocks and timber. That work went on carefully while Covid swept the country. Now, Sankoty Lakes is open.

Sankoty Lakes is built on what was a 230-acre gravel pit. Now, thanks to the efforts of developer Kim Blickenstaff and the spending of millions of dollars, Sankoty Lakes is a destination in Central Illinois.

Blickenstaff grew up in this area. All of us might want the best for our old home-town, but Kim Blickenstaff has the drive, vision, and money to make it happen here.

There’s a swimming beach, three lakes for fishing, glamour camping tents, RV pads, hiking trails, bird

watching, canoeing, a restaurant, and a nearly mile-long trout-fishing stream that winds around the complex.

Lori Birkland

“It’s really we want them to be able to, you know, come here and have this wow factor reaction. We want them to say, you know; ’Wow, this is here in Central Illinois’.“

Lori Birkland says fly fishing in the man-made trout stream has been particularly popular. There’s a resident expert on hand to teach novices how to fly fish for the wily trout. We’ve got more about trout fishing at Sankoty Lakes on our station’s website.

Lori Birkland says there’s just one purpose behind Sankoty Lakes:

“It’s all about making memories with their families. So just really creating a destination where families are happy, they’re enjoying each other, they’re outdoors, really having a great time”.

In Woodford County, I’m Tom McIntyre for Destination Illinois.)>>

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