Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve
Location and Access:
The preserve is located along the Mississippi River bluff near the town of Fults, about 25 miles south of Belleville. Access is possible by means of a blacktop road (Bluff Road) which joins Maeystown Road northwest of the area, and State Route 3. From the south end of Fults, take Bluff Road southeast 1.6 miles. The nature preserve is northeast of Bluff Road. Access is also possible from the southeast by means of Bluff Road, which joins State Route 155 southeast of the area and State Route 3.
Fults Hill Prairie lies within the rugged topography of the Northern Section of the Ozark Natural Division. In 1986, the preserve was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The site contains the largest complex of the highest quality, essentially undisturbed loess hill prairies along the Mississippi River in Illinois. However, many different natural communities are present, including upland forest, savanna, hill prairie, limestone glade, limestone cliff and sink hole ponds. The dry upland forest sites are dominated by white oak, black oak, post oak and black hickory, which give way to more mesic species, red oak, sugar maple, white ash and black walnut in the ravines. The steep, dry, open areas support hill prairie communities. Common grasses include little bluestem, big bluestem, Indian grass and side oats gramma. Prairie wildflowers are abundant. Unusual animals found in the preserve are plains scorpion, coachwhip snake and narrow-mouthed toad. Management of the preserve includes the use of prescribed burning to control woody encroachment on the hill prairies.
Ownership: Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Dedicated: October 1970 as the 30th Illinois Nature Preserve
Size: 528 acres
Topo Map: Renault 7.5
For Further Information Contact: Illinois Department of Natural Resources - World Shooting Complex, Natural Heritage Biologist, One Main Event Drive, Suite 140, Sparta, IL 62286 (618/295-2877)
03/10 R. Heidorn