Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Biking Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve

Home to a rare tallgrass savanna, Middlefork Savanna features a mix of oak savanna and woodlands, wet and mesic prairies, sedge meadows and marshes. Middlefork provides valuable protection for state and federally listed species such as the Blanding's turtle. A 25-acre parcel here is considered the highest quality tallgrass savanna of its kind in the nation and recognized as a globally threatened ecosystem.

Once part of a large glacial lake, Middlefork Savanna (686 acres) provides safe harbor for endangered plant and wildlife species, and several environmentally sensitive wetlands that feed into the North Branch of the Chicago River. Chicago Wilderness has identified Middlefork Savanna as one of the most important sites for biodiversity in northeastern Illinois. Because of its size, Middlefork supports an impressive list of uncommon birds, butterflies and other species that require large open areas for survival.

Though you'll only get about an 8 mile ride round-trip, the scenery is spectacular as seen in the following photos, and the northern end connects to the North Shore Path, which in turn connects to the Des Plaines River Trail, the McClory Trail, and the Skokie Valley Bike Path.









The entrance and parking area are located off of Waukegan Road (Route 43), north of Route 60 and south of Route 176. At the light for Middlefork Drive/Westmoreland Road, turn west onto Middlefork Drive. Proceed to the end of Middlefork Drive, bear left at the fork to enter the preserve parking area.

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