Forest Park Nature Preserve
Location and Access:
From Peoria at jct. Hwys. 29 & 150, take Hwy. 29 north 3 miles, then turn and go west on Gardner Lane 0.5 mile to Forest Park Nature Center. The nature preserve is in Forest Park to the west of the nature center.
Special Note: Forest park is on the rugged terrain of the Illinois River bluffs. A parking lot, visitors center and access to trails are located at Forest Park Wildlife Refuge, 0.5 mile southeast of the preserve boundary.
Forest Park is a good example of the original vegetation once characteristic of the Illinois River bluffs in the Grand Prairie Natural Division. The ridgetop woods is dominated by white oak and shagbark hickory. Hop hornbeam, gray dogwood and black cherry are common understory species while open areas have a sparse growth of herbs such as pussytoes, bottlebrush grass and golden alexander. Along the slopes, red oak almost completely replaces white oak and sugar maple increases in importance. Deer and small mammals typical of central Illinois woodlands inhabit the area, and over one hundred species of birds have been observed.
Ownership: Forest Park Foundation
Dedicated: May 1965 as the 13th Illinois Nature Preserve
Size: 357 acres with an additional 11.8 acres of buffer
Topo Map: Spring Bay 7.5
For Further Information Contact: Forest Park Foundation, 5823 North Forest Park Drive, Peoria, IL 61614; Peoria Pleasure Driveway and Park District, Peoria, IL 61603; and Forest Park Nature Center, Gardner Lane and Forest Park Drive, Peoria, IL 61614 (309/688-6413)
1/2009 - R. Heidorn