Here is how I originally found the park. A green spot close to home. I need to check this place.
I was looking at Google maps the other day and I noticed a green area near my home. Upon closer examination I
discovered there was an Illinois Nature Preserve only 5 miles from my house. The name of the Nature Preserve is
Bluff Spring Fen. I did a little research and found out it was something Mary and I would
enjoy. So, a week later on a nice Saturday morning we drove over to see it.
Information sign tells you what to expect when walking through the park. No dogs and no swimming.
You have to drive through a cemetery to get to it which is an interesting experience since there are hundreds of
plots and huge masoleums. I saw some grave sites dated in the mid 1800s. But you drive to the southwest corner
of the cemetery in the large city of Elgin and you come upon a small patch of paradise.
Bluff Spring Fen Ecological Management Site
You are greeted at the entrance by a sign labeled, Ecological Management Site. This is where you can pick up
a map that shows the paths and tells you about the flowers you may see on your visit. The map was very nicely
done and proved to be very informative. Then as you enter the park you see a huge rock telling you that you are
entering Bluff Spring Fen an Illinois Nature Preserve.
This rock was huge and quite a momument to the nature preserve.
The nature preserve is maintained by a small number of volunteers. They help maintain the paths and work hard to
prevent invasive species from taking over the park. Each week you visit there is a different flower blooming.
I think Mary and I arrived a week late to see some real beauty. You may be asking, what is a fen? Well according
to the brochure at the park, a fen is an area where water comes up from the ground. This water helps keep the
flowers healthy and there is a small creek that runs through the property.
One of many flowers found in Bluff Springs Fen nature preserve.
As you can see from the photos, the paths are the size of human foot traffic and it is recommended you wear
long sleeves and long pants and hiking boots. It was 80 degrees the day we visited and we are glad we followed
the recommendations. There were a couple of areas that we weren't entirely sure we were on the right path, but
everything seemed to work out okay.
Your first view when entering Bluff Spring Fen. As you can see not much room on the path.
A small bridge over water from the fen or springs. Single file only on the bridge.
There are three large kames on the property. If you remember from your high school geology classes you will
know that kames are produced by glaciers. As the glacier retreats it leaves a large mound of gravel and sand
that has been scraped from the land by the moving glacier. The people that worked to preserve the property had
to fight a company in the adjoining property that excavates gravel for commercial purposes.
Mary in front of one of three kames found on the property. You can climb two of the kames for a better
view of the entire park. It is a great place for bird watching.
We met a couple of the members that maintain the property and one of them proceeded to tell us about a hill at
the south east side of the property where the land was excavated and then an ecological system was moved onto
the excavated area. There is even an old car that had been pushed into the depression and then buried.
Water seeps from the ground from three places within the park.
Over all it is a beautiful area, with small birds, hawks, flowers, kames, and a natural environment that takes
you away from the hustle and bustle of today's busy world into a small, quiet, peaceful retreat. If you live
close to Elgin Illinois then take time on a weekend to visit Bluff Spring Fen Illinois Nature Preserve.
It is interesting and each time you visit presents you with a different vista and experience.