Early settlers to Illinois, in an attempt to describe the unfamiliar terrain they were encountering, referred to it as "a sea of grass with pretty flowers." Today, Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area serves as testimony to the prairies that once covered nearly 60 percent of the state.
Located in Grundy County, Goose Lake Prairie is approximately 50 miles southwest of Chicago and one mile southwest of the confluence of the Kankakee and Des Plaines rivers. More than half of Goose Lake Prairie is a dedicated nature preserve, protected by law for future generations from any change to the natural environment. In addition to furnishing a look into Illinois' past, the prairie provides important nesting habitat for endangered or threatened birds, such as the Henslow's sparrow.