Lost Flora Fen on Raccoon Creek

The entrance to this preserve is at 5565 Yale Bridge Rd. Rockton, IL 61072. 

This is a public preserve owned by Natural Land Institute. Thank you for following our pet free policy.

If you have questions about directions and instructions for entering the preserve before your first visit call: 815/964-6666, or email: info@naturalland.org.

Trails and Parking Map

Trails map from Yale Bridge Road entrance: LFFORC_2023Trails_PDFMap

This map was used for the Open House, Oct. 7, 2023, and includes future trails, planned restoration areas, and anticipated Illinois Nature Preserve areas highlighted.

The red star, yellow circle and red dashed line are not applicable after Oct. 7, 2023.

 


The original 40 acre Lost Flora Fen site is nestled along Raccoon Creek, northwest of Nygren Wetland Preserve (Rockton, Illinois) and near the Wisconsin border. Although not a true fen, a combination of low oxygen and acidic conditions in the soil reduces the availability of nutrients to plants, which allows a host of fen-loving species to thrive.

Naming this preserve the Lost Flora Fen came naturally, as not only had the northern bog orchid (last seen in 1871) been lost to county records, but a suite of plant species first cataloged by Dr. Egbert Fell (father of NLI’s founder, George B. Fell) in 1947 had also been lost from the records until the recent inventory by NLI.  More than 250 native plant species, several of which are rare, threatened or endangered fen and sedge meadow species, as well as unusual butterflies and dragonflies were discovered.

This property was acquired in May 2018 through a bequest in memory of Veronica and her son Steven Cramer and a grant from Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. Also, with their support and other donors, NLI was able to install a sign, parking area and boardwalk.

Lost Flora Fen is open to the public. Access to the original 40 acre portion is on the east side of Sharp Road, .8 miles north of the intersection of Sharp Road and Yale Bridge Road, Rockton, Ill. Please follow all gate instructions

In 2021 Lost Flora Fen Expanded by 347 Acres

Thank you to the Rumage family for their vision and patience in protecting their land in perpetuity. This new acquisition of 347 acres was in one of NLI’s priority conservation areas and has been combined with our Lost Flora Fen preserve. Its new name is Lost Flora Fen on Raccoon Creek.

There are a wide range of plant, animal and insect species present, including threatened and endangered species like the Blanding’s Turtle. One and a half miles of the creek meanders through the east side of the farm, fed on site by a number of seeps and springs. The high quality sedge meadow and wet prairie communities connect contiguously with the farm providing a connected and protected landscape of nearly 390 acres. To date 91 species of insects have been identified, and more than 100 species of birds are known to utilize the habitat. We look forward to unlocking undiscovered treasures! A grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, and support from many generous NLI donors funded this project.

 

 

 

 

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