Managing Our Lands

Save the Dunes owns and manages over 250 acres of natural areas within Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties. The majority of these protected lands are located within the Lake Michigan Watershed. The properties exhibit several types of habitats, including prairie, fen, oak savanna, foredune, dune and swale, riparian forest and hardwood forest. Below are descriptions of several of Save the Dunes’ more distinct preserves.  For information about any of our land holdings or conservation easements, please contact cathy@savedunes.org or call our office. Please note that at this time, hunting is prohibited on our properties.

MAP:  Western Unit Save Dunes Properties.

MAP: Eastern Unit Save Dunes Properties.

Stockwell Woods Nature Preserve

Stockwell Woods

Stockwell Woods Nature Preserve.

Stockwell Woods is one of our priority parcels in the dunes.  The preserve includes approximately 13 acres of forested foredune and black oak savanna along the southeastern coast of Lake Michigan in the Town of Long Beach. When Save the Dunes acquired Stockwell Woods, the site was overgrown with trees and shrubs that prevented the herbaceous layer from receiving adequate sunlight, which encouraged an inflow of invasive species. Save the Dunes is currently removing invasive species, thinning tree and shrub densities, and re-establishing the native herbaceous layer. The preserve has state rare Dwarf honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera), state rare Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana), Poke milkweed (Asclepias exaltata), and Box huckleberry (Gaylussacia brachycera). This is another preserve that was donated to Save the Dunes in 2005 by The Nature Conservancy.

Trail Creek Fen Nature Preserve

A turtle enjoying Trail Creek Fen.

Trail Creek Fen.

Trail Creek Fen Nature Preserve is one of our most cherished sites. The site, located in Michigan City, includes 38 acres of fen and upland natural communities that support over 200 species of native plants in Michigan City. High-quality fen habitat is extremely rare in our region. A beautiful stretch of Trail Creek runs through the middle of the preserve. The upland communities consist of degraded remnant savanna, open field, dry-mesic woodlands, and mesic forests. The preserve is also home to the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, a State Rare listed species, and the state endangered Spotted turtle. This preserve was donated to Save the Dunes by The Nature Conservancy in 2005.

Eleven-Acre Prairie Nature Preserve

Eleven-Acre Prairie Nature Preserve is, not surprisingly, 11 acres in size.  It is a remnant mesic prairie within the larger Hobart Marsh Complex in the city of Hobart. This preserve was donated to Save the Dunes by NIPSCO as part of a grant project years ago. The preserve recently received funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). With this funding, we removed invasive threats including Reed canarygrass, Purple loosestrife, and Canada thistle. We also cleared four acres of dense woody brush to promote an open prairie habitat. The preserve has state rare Small sundrops (Oenothera perennis), along with Bottled gentian (Gentiana andrewsii), Rose gentian (Sabatia angularis), and Green Fringed orchids (Platanthera lacera).

Brinson and Bock/Higgins

Brinson and Bock/Higgins are two preserves that collectively total 25 acres; they are located in Hobart. The preserves were previously farmed but had been left fallow for years. Located within the Hobart Marsh Complex, they were also included in a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant with our Eleven-Acre Prairie site. The funding from this grant allowed Save the Dunes to install native bur oak savanna on both properties. These preserves are near Robinson Lake (owned and managed by the city of Hobart) and Hobart Prairie Grove (owned and managed by National Park Service).

Sebert Forks Riparian Forest Nature Preserve

Sebert Forks Riparian Forest Nature Preserve includes 46 acres of floodplain forest within the eastern branch of Trail Creek. The preserve also contains an upland hardwood forest and a bottomland wet forest habitat at the southern portion of the preserve. Tree installations on the northern portion of the preserve restored what was previously an agricutural field back into a forest, which is exciting. A portion of this preserve is Certified Wildlife Habitat by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The preserve contains the state rare Purple Fringed orchid (Platanthera psycodes), along with Indian cucumber root (Medeola virginiana), Poison sumac (Rhus vernix), and Large-flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum).

Rakowski Parcel

We were honored to work with Alex and Jude Rakowski of Long Beach to secure a small  lot in front of their house along Lake Michigan via donation. This small lot means a lot to us, as it is our only land holding along Lake Michigan itself.  The Rakowskis have been active members involved with Save the Dunes for years, and through their generous land donation, they hope to encourage others in Long Beach to consider protecting their parcels north of the roadway for long-term preservation, which will better protect the dunes ecosystem. Thanks, Alex and Jude!