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Crete-Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve

Between 1938 and 2007, the 891-acre Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve was purchased in Crete, IL. The preserve is part of the Plum Creek preservation system, which includes over 2,300 acres of land. The area formerly served as a Boy Scout camp until it was purchased by the District. In 1996, a 541-acre part of the land was designated as an Illinois Nature Preserve. This commitment ensures that the preserve’s natural riches will be protected in existence. The Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve protects a variety of ecosystems, including a forest, prairie, wetlands, and a section of Plum Creek. Several state-threatened or endangered animal species, such as the Kirtland’s snake, may be found at the preserve. The preserve also serves as a home for a variety of birds, some of which nest in birdhouses outfitted with “Spy-On-A-Bird” cameras. The feeders outside Plum Creek Nature Center also provide plenty of opportunity to see some of the many birds that live in the preserve. Several state-threatened or endangered plant species, such as the spotted coral-root orchid and ear-leaved foxglove, may also be found in the park. To conserve and improve the site’s natural resources, invasive species management and regulated burning are used. The 2.27-mile natural surface track at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve is great for hiking/running, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.  Hiking/Running, Cross-Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, Ice Skating, Geocaching, and other activities are permitted on the preserve’s 0.48 mile paved track. Additionally, the preserve gives access to the 3.15-mile crushed limestone Plum Creek Greenway Trail, which is perfect for activities like biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, picnicking, sledding, and camping.The Plum Creek Nature Center provides nature education opportunities for families, school groups, and youth organizations. A natural playscape around the nature center provides visitors with outdoor education opportunities. The nature center is free and accessible to the public.


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