Acquired in 1997 after nearly a decade of effort, this 35-acre preserve is one of Lake Forest Open Lands' most successful conservation development projects. The parcel is a former tree nursery, abandoned in the late 1950s and left undisturbed for many years. The visitor will find unusual trees scattered throughout the area such as catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) and sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), as well as a grove of eighty-year-old pine and spruce trees. The eastern third of the site is also a high-quality woodland and wet prairie, apparently never plowed or disturbed by the various owners. A healthy population of cream gentian (Gentiana flavida), an uncommon prairie plant, indicates the original nature of the prairie lands.
Extensive restoration of portions of the old nursery included the removal of buckthorn and non-native weedy grasses and forbs, followed by native prairie seeding begun in 1998, and continuing today. This somewhat eclectic collection of mini-habitats has found favor with many migratory and nesting birds of our region, so binoculars and a field guide are recommended.

The beautiful path leading to the grove of evergreens. Photo Credit: Alain Wood-Prince



Access and parking are located on James Court, east off of Telegraph Road (approximately 1/2 mile north of Route 22). Park in the small lot on the north side of James Court and walk east to the trailhead and kiosk.