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Thorn Creek Woods Nature Center and Preserve is located in Will County, Illinois, near the town of Park Forest. It is a part of Will County’s Forest Preserve District. Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve is situated at 247 Monee Road, roughly 0.25 miles north of Stunkel Road in Park Forest. The preserve is open everyday from 8:00 a.m. to sundown, with the Nature Center open from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Fridays and Sundays. Thorn Creek Nature Preserve, at 830 acres, is located near the headwaters of Thorn Creek and comprises bottomlands, ravines, and white-oak woods mixed with marsh and meadows. The real nature center is housed within an ancient church along Monee Road. It has two floors and a natural library as well as exhibitions on nature. The footpath begins behind the chapel and proceeds east into the woods. The topography varies. The path begins on high ground before plunging down into the Thorn Creek River Valley. It then crosses the creek and returns up and out of the valley. The topography is rather rough, especially near the river and its tributaries, which have carved several gorges and ravines. The 997-acre Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve was purchased between 1974 and 2006. The preserve is part of the Thorn Creek preservation system, which protects around 1,600 acres. The Thorn Creek Woods Management Commission is based on four Thorn Creek Woods Management Commission members: the Forest Preserve District, the Village of Park Forest, the Village of University Park, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. An 884-acre part of the land was designated as an Illinois Nature Preserve in 1978, 1993, and 2001. This tribute ensures that the preserve’s natural elements will be preserved in eternity. Thorn Creek Woods preserves a variety of ecosystems, including woodland, prairie, savanna, wetland, and a part of Thorn Creek. Southern flying squirrels, warblers, woodpeckers, and a variety of hawk species may be seen in the park. The preserve is also home to a number of plant species, including basswood and sugar maple. To maintain and improve its natural resources, the site is maintained through invasive species removal and regulated burning.


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