This land contains the remnants of one of the most diverse natural systems that ever graced the Illinois landscape, the tall grass prairie and its associated communities. Hidden among the overused landscape are pieces of a puzzle that represent what once was a rich tapestry of life. A remnant wetland managed to survive in the center of this park and is home to an Illinois endangered species, the dwarf bur reed. This plant alone warranted listing this wetland as an Illinois Wetland Reserve in 1990.
As people visit James “Pate” Philip State Park for the first time, they should remember that the story of this land is not completely told in what it is now but what this land will become. As the land recovers, the plant and animal life that once flourished throughout the area will return as well. Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to come back often and to watch this land transform itself into a functioning, diverse natural area.