George S Park Memorial Woods
Nature Preserve Area:
Location and Access:
From Henry, take Hwy. 18 east 4.1 miles to blacktop road, then turn and go west 0.5 mile. The nature preserve is on the north side of the road.
George S. Park Memorial Woods is an excellent example of the native forests once found in the Grand Prairie Natural Division. These forests were typically restricted to the bluffs of the Illinois River while the flat, drier areas were claimed by the prairie communities. The early pioneers living amidst a sea of grass had a great respect for their forests. The scattered woods provided settlers with firewood, building materials and a cool place to escape from the heat of the prairie. A result of the settlers needs for these areas was that several small, scattered, high quality woodlots were deliberately protected. Today, the story about the Grand Prairie has changed. Native forests are extremely rare due to the clearing of trees for cultivation and the use of the woodlots for grazing. Fortunately, George S. Park Memorial Woods was one of the protected areas. The land was donated to the state in 1961 by Rebecca Lowrie in memory of her grandfather, George S. Park, who lived and owned the property during the 1800's. The preserve displays a fairly uniform hardwood forest with gradual to moderately steep slopes. The drier hilltops are dominated by white and black oak. The mesic slopes support a sugar maple and red oak community. The well-drained ravines have a mixture of many tree species such as elm, oak, walnut and Kentucky coffee. The herbaceous layer is abundant with native woodland plants. Many common animals species may be observed.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
For further information:
Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Jubilee College State Park, District Natural Heritage Biologist, 13921 W. Route 150, Brimfield, Illinois 61517 (309-446-9181).