Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore - Natural Areas

Natural Areas

Main article: Habitats of the Indiana Dunes See also: Oak savanna
Calumet Prairie

Calumet Prairie is a joint venture between the National Park Service and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The Calumet Prairie State Nature Preserve in the northern portion of the land between Interstate 90 to the north and the Little Calumet River on the south. The National Lakeshore owns the southern half of this plot.

Cowles Bog
Main article: Cowles Bog

Cowles Bog, a National Natural Landmark, is a fen wetland named in honor of biologist and ecologist Henry Chandler Cowles. Located south and west of Dune Acres, Indiana, Cowles Bog is the sole remaining remnant of the "Central Dunes" where Cowles performed his pioneering field studies of Ecological succession and species diversity. A National Lakeshore trail runs from Mineral Springs Road into Cowles Bog.

Great Marsh
See also: Marsh

The Great Marsh is an interdunal wetland just south of the dune ridge overlooking Lake Michigan. It stretches from steel plants in Burns Harbor, 12 miles (19 km) east to County Line Road on the edge of Michigan City. A century ago, it was the nesting and migratory layover for many birds, which depended on its variety of plants. In the late 19th century, the marsh was drained through a series of ditches, creating three watersheds and reducing the water table. As the water levels changed, new plants and trees moved in, creating a new habitat and displacing the wildlife that was dependent on the pre-existing wetlands.

  • Native Plants & Animals
    • Coots
    • Mallards
    • Wood Ducks
    • Kingfishers
    • Tree Swallows
    • Rusty Blackbirds
    • Green Herons
    • Beaver
    • sedges
  • Invasive Plants
    • common reed
    • hybrid cattail
    • Reed canary grass
    • Green Ash
    • Cottonwood
    • Silver Maple
  • Restoration

Beginning in 1998, the national lakeshore began restoration of the marsh by closing Derby Ditch and restoring 500 acres (200 ha). The work consist of:

    • Plugging culverts
    • Filling ditches
    • Creating levees with spillways
    • Planting native plants, either as seed or small sprouts
    • Removing non-native plants and trees

Heron Rookery

See also: Heron Rookery

The Heron Rookery is located along the East Arm Little Calumet River in the northeast corner of Porter County. The Rookery is physically separated from the main part of the park. It is accessible from County Road 600 East, south of County Road 1400 North. The rookery is a hardwood forest. The great blue heron nests, for which the site is named, are no longer a feature of the area. Spring brings out a variety of wildflowers.

Hoosier Prairie
Main article: Hoosier Prairie

Hoosier Prairie, a National Natural Landmark, is a 430 acre (1.7 km2) tallgrass prairie adjacent to Griffith, Indiana. It is a geographically isolated unit of the Lakeshore, owned and maintained by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as a state nature preserve. Some 574 species of plants have been observed growing in this patch of prairie.

Miller Woods
Main article: Miller Woods

Miller Woods is located in Miller Beach, Indiana It is accessed through the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education on Lake Street. The area is dominated by dune and swale topography. the ridges or swells are beach and dune sand. They date from the post Glacial lake Nipissing period some 3000 years before present. The swales are the depressions between the ridges. They are generally either ponds or marshes.

Mnoke Prairie

Mnoke Prairie is an active prairie restoration along Beam Street in the central portion of the park.

Mount Baldy

Mount Baldy is a sand dune located at the east end of the park. At 123 feet (37 m) tall, it is one of the tallest sand dunes on the southern shore of Lake Michigan. It is a wandering dune that moves an average of 4 feet (1.2 m) every year, and so is called a "living dune." Mount Baldy is accessible from U.S. Route 12 (also known as Dunes Highway) between the Town of Pines and the western border of Michigan City. Visitors can hike 0.7 miles (1.1 km) up the dune and from the top, on a clear day, can view Chicago's skyline and the south shore. Portions of the area are closed to allow beach grasses and other native plants to regenerate.

Pinhook Bog
Main article: Pinhook Bog

Pinhook Bog, a National Natural Landmark, is a geographically isolated unit of the National Lakeshore. The quaking peat bog is located near U.S. Route 421 approximately 9 miles (14 km) south of Michigan City. The bog formed from a postglacial kettle moraine left behind about 14,000 years before the present by the melting of the ice sheet during the end of the Last glacial period. The acidic bog is noted for pitcher plants and other wetland species. Access to the bog is restricted to ranger-led guided tours.

Read more about this topic:  Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

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