LeRoy Oakes Nature Preserve
Location and Access:
From the jct. of Rt. 64 and Randall Rd, north on Randall Rd. for 0.25 mile to the traffic light, turn west (left) onto Dean St. for 0.5 mile. Enter parking lot for Great Western Trail bike path on the south side of Dean St. The foot trail at the west end of the parking lot leads to the nature preserve.
The LeRoy Oakes Nature Preserve is locally referred to as "Horlock Hill." The preserve is part of an end moraine composed chiefly of well drained sand and gravel. It has been called on of the finest dry prairies in the Chicago region. Used as the benchmark for dry hill prairies by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory, this preserve has been reduced to less than half the size it was when discovered. Approximately one acre of very high quality dry prairie persists. Despite encroachment from a pine tree plantation and use as a dumping ground for spoil piles in the 1950s, the prairie continues to support a diverse and very uncommon plant community. Among the more unusual plants to found here are short green milkweed, scurfy pea and Richardson's sedge. It also features many characteristic plants such as the prairie and bird-foot violet, leadplant, false toadflax, downy gentian, cylindrical blazing star, grooved yellow flax and prairie cinquefoil.
Special Note: Adjacent to the Nature Preserve is a prairie that was recreated from an old farm field, by the local high school prairie restoration club from 1973 to 1983. Students propagated and planted seedings from seeds collected locally. Approximately 130 species of prairie plants including both mesic and wet-mesic plant communities have been established here.
Ownership: Forest Preserve District of Kane County
Dedicated: March 1992
Size: 20 acres
Topo Map: Geneva 7.5
For Further Information Contact: The Forest Preserve District of Kane County, 719 Batavia Road, Geneva, IL 60134 (708/232-5980)
03/10 R. Heidorn