Pere Marquette Nature Preserve
Location and Access:
From Grafton, take Highway 100 6.1 miles to Pere Marquette State Park. The nature preserve is in the north part of the state park just east of Camp Piasa.
Pere Marquette Nature Preserve is within the 7,245 acre Pere Marquette State Park. At the present time, the preserve is the only protected area that characterizes the Driftless Section of the Middle Mississippi Border Natural Division. The park and adjacent lands were not covered by any of the four glacial stages. However, the glacial meltwaters, which drained into the nearby Illinois River, did influence the land. Rock, sand and finely ground "rock flour" or loess were carried by the river until deposited in the lowlands. When the water receded, these deposits dried out and blew onto nearby uplands. In some places loess deposits reach 150 feet thick. The five distinct plant communities recognized here are wet to dry-mesic forest, limestone outcrops, loess hill prairie and spring-fed streams. The predominant trees in the dry forest are white and black oak, while red oak and white ash occur in the mesic area. The wet-mesic forest, located in the lower elevations of the ravines and along the streams, are dominated by sugar maple, red elm and sassafras. The limestone outcroppings provide habitat for several fern species not found anywhere else in the preserve. The loess hill prairie on the southwest slope supports native dry prairie species such as little bluestem, Indian grass, leadplant and purple prairie clover. The fauna of the area is quite diverse with over 234 species of birds, 19 species of mammals and several species of reptiles and amphibians recorded.
Ownership: Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Dedicated: November 1979
Size: 297.4 acres with an additional 6.6 acres of buffer
Topo Map: Nutwood 7.5
For Further Information Contact: Site Superintendent, Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton, IL 62037 (618/786-3758) or Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Biologist, 4521 Alton Commerce Parkway, Alton, IL 62002 (618/462-1181)
1/2009 - R. Heidorn