Norris Nature Preserve
Location and Access:
From the intersection of Routes 64 and 25 in St Charles, take Route 25 north to Johnor Ave. Turn west, Johnor becomes 3rd Ave. Entrance to the nature preserve is on the access road immediately behind (west) of Bethlehem Lutheran Church.
Norris Nature Preserve (formerly Jones Woods) is a remnant of the original dry-mesic upland forests that once bordered the Fox River. The area contains about 10% of the most outstanding natural forest remaining in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. This prime piece of property was owned and protected for many years by the Norris family of St. Charles. In 1978, the Nature Conservancy acquired the property and transferred ownership to the City of St. Charles and to the St. Charles Park District. Today, attractive features within the preserve are the rich spring wildflowers, riverside location, old growth trees, and status as one of the highest quality natural areas remaining in the region. Red oak and white oak dominate the dry-mesic forest. Some of these trees range from 100 to 150 years old. Other upland species include ash, red elm, black cherry, and choke cherry. Along the river are small local mesic communities dominated by sugar maple, while floodplain communities support willow and silver maple. Other notable plants include twinleaf, squawroot, shinleaf, poke milkweed, ferns, and blue ash. The areas rich diversity of plant life provides excellent habitat for many woodland animals. Sightings have included squirrels, woodchuck, American toad, and 41 species of nesting birds. Several threatened and endangered species have also been recorded.
Ownership: St. Charles Park District and City of St. Charles
Dedicated: October 1978
Size: 62 acres nature preserve, 11 acres buffer
Topo Map: Geneva 7.5
For Further Information Contact: St. Charles Park District, 101 South Second Street, St. Charles, IL 60174 (708/584-2700) or City of St. Charles, 2 East Main Street, St. Charles, IL 60172
1/2009 - R. Heidorn