Christmas Tree Recycling Program

January 2024
By Kayla
Posted: Updated:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Carlyle Lake will be collecting used, real Christmas trees for the annual Christmas Tree Recycling Project. The Corps of Engineers, along with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, uses these trees to provide effective and economical fish habitats at Carlyle Lake.

Christmas trees can be donated through January 28, 2024 at the following locations:

  • Plant Land (located on Old Route 50 east of Breese)
  • Keyesport Boat Ramp
  • Little Prairie Nature Trail Parking Lot (located in the West Spillway at Carlyle Lake)

All decorations, including garland and tinsel, must be removed. No artificial trees or wreaths.

Every spring, volunteers from various conservation minded organizations and clubs donate their time to help submerge the trees in the lake as fish shelters. These fish shelters provide breeding areas, resting places, and protection. They give young fish much needed living spaces where they can feed on plankton and avoid being preyed upon by larger fish.  The protection provided by the trees allows for a large number of fish to grow to maturity and ultimately provide more fish for anglers.

If you are interested in volunteering to help place Christmas trees in the lake in the spring, please contact the Carlyle Lake Project Office at (618) 594-2484 or email at