HARRISBURG, IL (KFVS) - A familiar site in the Heartland will be prominently featured on the back of 300 million quarters in 2016.
As part of its "America the Beautiful" line, the U.S. Mint launched the Shawnee National Forest quarter Thursday, February 4, at 10 a.m. at the Southeastern Illinois College gymnasium in Harrisburg, Illinois.
The Shawnee National Forest quarter is the 31st coin to be released in the series and features a depiction of Camel Rock from Garden of the Gods.U.S. Mint states this quarter is also the fifth and final one that will depict a national forest.
It's something tourism administrators say is a very exciting time for southern Illinois.
"It's a very positive thing," sales manager for the Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau, Carol Hoffman said. "We hope it'll bring a lot of publicity to our area,"
"People will see this quarter and have no idea, or any story about it. So people who might normally stop at southern Illinois, may make that stop now and check out Garden of the Gods," Shawnee National Forest Public Affairs Officer, Mary McCorvie said.
Hundreds of students came to the launch, receiving their very own quarter.
For fourth grader Falon Cornell, she says she has special plans for her new coin. "I'm probably going to save it, have my mom hide it for me and then once I grow up and have kids, I'm going to give it to them," she said.
McCorvie says this process has been going on since 2009.
She said the governor at the time of 2009 was asked to give U.S. Mint three popular sites that represents the state and only one answer was given…Garden of the gods. It's something forest officials say will help bring more people to southern Illinois.
"Oh my goodness yes, I mean we already have millions of people who come and visit Garden of the Gods so I don't know how it will be topped, but it will be topped," McCorvie said.
The U.S. Mint began the program in 2010 and will culminate in 2021 with a total of 56 quarters with designs depicting various scenes from national parks and other national sites.
After the commemoration of the coin, an exchange was held where rolls of the quarters can be purchased for $10 with a 10 roll limit. The Harrisburg Banterra Bank was selected as the exclusive distributing bank for the initial release of the Shawnee Nation Forest Quarter.