Nature Preserve Area:
Location and Access:
From the junction of Hwys. 108 and 267 in Carrollton, go south 2.8 miles on Hwy. 267, turn west on road 1000 N and go 4.3 miles, turn south on road 700 E and go 2.5 miles, turn west on road 750 N and go 0.5 mile, turn south on road 650 E and continue south/southwest 1.6 miles, turn west on gravel road at T junction and go west/southwest 0.9 mile. The preserve is on the west side of the road.
McMaster Woods is a beautiful oak woodland and barrens that occurs on deep ravines, steep slopes and a ridgetop. Limestone bedrock outcrops along the bases of ravines and an intermittent stream crosses the northwest corner of the preserve. Dry-mesic upland forest, found on mid to upper slopes and ridgetops, is dominated by white oak and black oak. Shagbark hickory, mockernut hickory, redbud and chinquapin oak are also present. Mesic forest, found on lower slopes and ravine bottoms, is a diverse community dominated by red oak and sugar maple with occasional bitternut hickory, American elm and hackberry. A great variety of wildflowers, grasses, sedges and ferns occur here, including large-flowered bellwort, spikenard, false dragonhead, wood reed and maidenhair fern. A small, but interesting barrens remnant occurs on the ridgetop adjacent to an abandoned field. Here, widely scattered white oaks stand above a wide diversity of native grasses and wildflowers such as Indian grass, woodland brome, tall coreopsis, slender mountain mint, New Jersey tea, bristly sunflower and showy goldenrod. The abandoned field on the ridgetop and bordering the road is being restored to a barrens community. Prescribed burning is used to retain and restore the open nature of this woodland.
For further information:
Illinois Department of Natural Resources, District Natural Heritage Biologist, 4521 Alton Commerce Parkway, Alton, Illinois 62002 (618/462-2424)