Dean Hills Nature Preserve
Location and Access:
From Ramsey at jct. Hwy. 51 & Main Street, take Main Street east 7.1 miles to beginning of curve to south, then turn left and take road running northeast 0.55 mile. The nature preserve is to the north.
Special Note: Dean Hills has no developed trails or parking areas. Access can be attained by parking on the roadside on the SW corner of the preserve. This is an unimproved road and is impassable during wet periods.
The rugged topography of Dean Hills contains high quality mesic and dry-mesic upland forest communities representative of the Effingham Till Plains Section. This preserve is somewhat unique in the nature preserve system because of its location on a glacial feature known as a kame. Kames are hills or ridges formed from glacial deposits. The ravine and ridge features of Dean Hills resulted from the erosion of that glacial drift.
The ravine and slope communities contain red oak, sugar maple and basswood. The ridgetops provide slightly drier conditions for white oak, black oak and hickories. A few natural springs may be found along the area between the hills and Beck Creek. These originated as seep springs from sand and gravel glacial deposits at the bases of steep hills. Other notable features within the preserve include a diverse display of spring wildflowers and Beck Creek, a sand and gravel-bottomed low gradient stream tributary of the Kaskaskia River System. Area-sensitive forest interior birds such as red-eyed vireo, wood thrush, barred owl, scarlet tanager and pileated woodpecker are found here. Wild turkeys have been reintroduced into the area and find sanctuary on the nature preserve.
Ownership: Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Dedicated: February 1985
Size: 70 acres
Topo Map: Herrick 7.5
For Further Information Contact: Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Biologist, Prairie Ridge State Natural Area, 4295 North 1000th Street, Newton, IL 62448, (618/782/2685)
03/10 R. Heidorn