Rollins Savana – Lake County, IL

Grasslands – The Secret to the Rescue

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On any given day, you will find numerous souls walking, running or biking the Rollins Savana trials in Grayslake, Illinois which also connects to the Millennium Trail to the North and South, enjoying the peaceful beauty of what a grassland habitat provides.

The space is the most important ingredient in building a grassland bird habitat.  A minimum of 150 acres is needed, undivided by roads, in order for many species to breed successfully.

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The land used in this grassland restoration project passed through a number of hands before becoming a preserve in the late 1980’s.  Rollins Savanna in is now one of Lake County’s largest forest preserves with over 1,200 uninterrupted acres.

Plants are a supporting structure within a habitat.  Their root systems hold the soil together and prevent erosion.  With a natural water flow, ecologists restore the mix of plants that  protect and enrich the soil.  Plants feed the animals, provide materials and places for nests, and break the cold winter winds.  The right mix of plants supports the animals that northern barriers feed – ground squirrels, voles and mice.

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Apple River Canyon State Park: Illinois.

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In hilly northern Illinois, the park offers hiking, day use, camping and fishing, plus Millville, a National Historic Register site.

Apple River Canyon State Park is in the hilly northwest corner of Illinois near the Wisconsin border. Limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams and wildlife characterize this area. Once a part of a vast sea bottom that stretched from the Alleghenies to the Rockies, the scenic canyon area was formed by the action of the winding waters of the Apple River.

The park was established by the State of Illinois in 1932, and today consisting of 1,907 acres. Several other sites within Jo Daviess County are managed as part of the Apple River Canyon State Park Complex: Thompson and Salem Units, Iris and Jack Witkowsky Wildlife Area, Tapley Woods Natural Area, Hanover Bluff Natural Area, Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve, Wards Grove Nature Preserve, McKeague Unit Nature Preserve, Rall Woods Natural Area, and Apple River Canyon – Winston Tunnel Unit.

Brown County State Park – Indiana

The Smokies of the Midwest

Nicknamed the “Little Smokies” because of the area’s resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains, Brown County encompasses nearly 16,000 acres of rugged hills, ridges and fog-shrouded ravines. Glaciers from the most recent ice ages stopped short of the “hills o’ Brown,” but their meltwaters helped create the narrow ridges, steep slopes and deep gullies of Brown County State Park. Indiana’s largest park is a traditional fall color hot spot, with nearly 20 miles of tree-lined roads and many scenic vistas overlooking miles of uninterrupted forestland.

The park’s rustic Abe Martin Lodge offers accommodations that include motel rooms, cabins, dining and conference facilities and an indoor water park. Large campgrounds, hiking and mountain biking trails, interpretive services, a saddle barn for guided horse rides and a separate horseman campground with 70 miles of horse trails are some of the things that make Brown County State Park popular year-round.

 

 

https://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2988.htm

Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Ohio

2019 River Celebration

Though a short distance from the urban areas of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park seems worlds away. The park is a refuge for native plants and wildlife, and provides routes of discovery for visitors. The winding Cuyahoga River gives way to deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. Walk or ride the Towpath Trail to follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Over 125 miles of hiking trails are available for your hiking pleasure in CVNP. These trails range from nearly level to challenging.

Blue Hen Falls

Blue Hen Falls is favorite of visitors who wish to visit one of the prettiest waterfalls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The trail takers hikers down an old driveway to Spring Creek (named for the spring upstream that feeds this creek year-round).

 

https://www.nps.gov/cuva/learn/index.htm

Black Hills, South Dakota

South Dakota's Black Hills.The Black Hills, in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, consists of 1.2 million acres of forested hills and mountains, approximately 110 miles long and 70 miles wide, a hikers and naturalist paradise.

The Black Hills rise from the adjacent grasslands into a ponderosa pine forest. Described as an “Island in the Plains,” the Forest has diverse wildlife and plants reaching from the eastern forests to the western plains. The Forest is a multiple-use Forest with activities ranging from timber production, grazing, to hiking, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, mining, wildlife viewing and many others.

The four seasons offer amazing opportunities to view and enjoy nature on the Black Hills National Forest. In the springtime, flowers abound on the forest floor. Fall colors  brighten the hills and white winter snow illuminates the surroundings. Forest lakes glisten bright blue on summer days, and summer nights offer magnificent opportunities for star gazing.

Enjoy yourself while viewing the many rugged rock formations, canyons and gulches, open grassland parks, tumbling streams, and deep blue lakes.

 

Rock Climbing

 

 

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills

Love of the Lens – On Location

Badlands – South Dakota 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

A must see destination

By far my favorite, the Badlands National Park is located in the midst of the Northern Great Plains and named Mako Sica by the Lokata people. Here you can get lost….with of 244,000 acres of spectacular landscapes, native mixed grass prairie, a large variety of native wildlife, amazing fossils, wonderful skyscapes and compelling human and geological history.

The Badlands were formed by the geologic forces of deposition and erosion over 69 million years ago when an ancient sea stretched across what is now the Great Plains. After the sea retreated, successive land environments, including rivers and flood plains, continued to deposit sediments. Although the major period of deposition ended 28 million years ago, significant erosion of the Badlands did not begin until a mere half a million years ago. Erosion continues to carve the Badlands buttes today. Eventually, the Badlands will completely erode away.

Hiking in Wisconsin – Devil’s Lake Loop

Weekend Trail ConditionsIce Wall of Pine Hollow SNADevil’s Lake has over 29 miles of hiking trails for any skill level including amazingly scenic sections of the National Ice Age Trail.  The trails vary in condition and difficulty from easy to challenging and are not maintained in the winter months. Steep climbs or descents and stairways are common on Devil’s Lake’s hiking trails.

 

For more information visit: https://www.devilslakewisconsin.com/activities/hiking/