Middle Fork Woods Nature Preserve
Location and Access:
From 2.5 miles west of Danville at jct. I-74 & Hwy. 150, take Hwy. 150 southwest 0.4 mile to blacktop road, then turn and go northwest 0.7 mile to Kickapoo State Park.
Special Note: The preserve is located within Kickapoo State Park. Many facilities are available to visitors.
Middle Fork Woods is a remnant of a once vast mesic upland forest of the Vermilion Section of the Wabash Border Natural Division. Prior to glaciation Vermilion County was characterized by wide valleys and rolling hills. A preglacial river that originated in Virginia entered Illinois near Hoopeston. The ancient waterway was known as the Teays. When the glaciers advanced into the state, the Teays, along with many other significant landforms, disappeared. The glaciers deposited huge quantities of material, known as glacial drift, throughout the county in thicknesses ranging from 50 to 200 feet. This material included unsorted ice-laid debris (till), meltwater sorted sand and gravel (outwash), fine grained wind-blown silt (loess) and coarse-grained sediments (alluvium) along streams. These deposits were extremely important, because they became the parent material of the 4 soil types presently found in the preserve. The plant and animal populations found in this section are distinct from those found elsewhere in Illinois. Several forest communities have been recognized: upland forest with black and white oak, slopes with sugar maple and basswood and ephemeral ponds with swamp white oak. The understory includes ironwood, redbud, sassafras and blue beech. A total of 45 mammal species, 40 bird species and 13 herptile species have been observed in the Kickapoo-Middle Fork complex.
Ownership: Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Dedicated: May 1979
Size: 69.2 acres with an additional 9.8 acres of buffer
Topo Map: Collison and Danville NW 7.5
For Further Information Contact: Site Superintendent, Kickapoo State Park, Oakwood, IL 61858 (217/442-4915) or Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Biologist, 1660 Polk Ave., Charleston, IL 61920 (217/345-2420)
1/2009 - R. Heidorn