Native plants and animal species abound in this amazing peek at the past.
Efroymson Restoration at Kankakee Sands
Like so many things in our small Indiana town travels, for some reason, no one, not even locals from the area, seems to know about this 7,800 acre restoration project.
Add in Conrad Savanna Nature Preserve, Beaver Lake Nature Preserve, Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area, and the The Nature Conservancy’s Conrad Station Savanna Preserve, and you have more than 20,000 acres!
Three completely different trails are available for you to walk or roam as you please. Wet Prairie, Dry Prairie, or Black Oak Forest Savanna. None of them are particularly difficult and each of them have something unique to offer from arrowheads to pond life to a ghost town!
What Happened to Beaver Lake?On one hand, it is amazing that a woman in 1873 took on such an undertaking but on the other hand, the greed of the largest breeder of Spotted Poland-China hogs in northern Indiana changed the face of this part of Indiana forever.
Once the largest lake in the entire state of Indiana, Beaver Lake, with its shallow depth and incredible native flora and fauna, is now field. No longer do so many birds take to the sky that the horizon seems darkened by their presence. That lake would have been such a boon for Newton County!
Instead, Jennie M. Conrad’s father drained Beaver Lake by having Big Ditch dug over four and a half miles away. She planned the small town of Conrad, Indiana in order to have a central locale for her booming business.
Gone, too, is the town of Conrad itself. Walk Conrad Station Savannah, my favorite trail, not quite two miles of black oak forest savannah, and look for the crumbling foundations of this Indiana ghost town. A water-damaged sign tells the story in greater detail and includes images of the old hotel and town layout. It is fascinating.
Go ThereIt is our favorite place in this area to roam. I hope it speaks to you as much as it does to little Indiana and family.
At Kankakee Sands alone, 600 native plant species have been restored to more than 6,500 acres. There are over 100 rare or threatened species living in the protected area. It is a wonderful, wonderful place. Although this part of our Hoosier heritage is long gone, at least we have Kankakee Sands in Newton County–and a desire to do better!
It feels so very good to find myself delighted by nature all over again. Sharing it with our boys makes it even better .
Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!
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