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Explore the Nachusa Grasslands

Franklin Grove, Illinois


Added by Brittney Waterhouse

The Nachusa Grasslands is a 4,000 acre prarie, wetland and woodland preserve located near Franklin Grove. It is home to a growing heard of buffalo that roam over a 1,500 acre plot of land and also contains trails that cross through prarie land that is currently being restored with native plant species.

The Nachusa Grasslands is a wildlife restoration and recreational area located near Franklin Grove, Illinois that contains several hiking trails through prarie land with over 700 native plant species and features a 1500 acre enclosure for a bison heard that inhabits the preserve.  The land is currently being managed and restored by a group of conservationists and volunteer stewards.

The trails are located in separate areas with a small parking lot for each one.  In addition to the many native plant species, the trails are also great for wildlife viewing so I would recommend bringing binoculars.  They are currently constructing a visitors center but you can still obtain some information and record your observations at a small pavilion set up on the site.  There are often volunteers around that can recommend trails and provide general information.  I would, however, recommend going to the website listed below to view the list of trails and plan out your visit.

The bison heard is probably the most unique feature of the preserve.  The heard was introduced in 2014 with an initial population of 30 animals and has since more than doubled in size. The bison may be viewed from the road as well as a few designated viewing spots.  Again, I would recommend bringing binoculars to view them.


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