Illinois Nature Preserves

early evening in the woods at Cap Sauers Holding Nature Preserve. Photo by Chad Reno.
Cap Sauers Holding Nature Preserve, dedicated in 1965, is the fourth oldest in the Illinois Nature Preserve System. Photo by Chad Reno.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County has 24 dedicated Illinois Nature Preserves, including many of the state’s earliest.

On this page:

Nature Preserve List

The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission designates the highest quality natural areas in the state as Nature Preserves. This status includes increased levels of legal protection and management.

Busse Forest Nature Preserve
(near Elk Grove Village)

McMahon Woods and Fen Nature Preserve
(part of Dan McMahon Woods)
(near Willow Springs)

Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve
(part of Sagawau Environmental Learning Center)
(near Lemont)

Shoe Factory Road Prairie Nature Preserve
(part of Arthur L. Janura Preserve)
(near Schaumburg)

Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve
31st St, west of Wolf Rd
(near Westchester)

Land & Water Reserve List

The Forest Preserves of Cook County has four Land and Water Reserves. This state designation provides special protections, though at a lower level than a Nature Preserve.

Bartel Grassland Land and Water Reserve
Flossmoor Rd, west of Central Ave
(near Tinley Park)

Orland Grassland Land and Water Reserve
W 167th St, west of S La Grange Rd
(near Orland Park)

Illinois Nature Preserves Commission

The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC) is part of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The mission of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC) is to assist private and public landowners in protecting high quality natural areas and habitats of endangered and threatened species; in perpetuity, through voluntary dedication or registration of such lands into the Illinois Nature Preserves System. The Commission promotes the preservation of these significant lands and provides leadership in their stewardship, management and protection.