Built in the early 2000's, Middlefork Farm is located in Lake Forest on Waukegan Road north of Route 60. This, the largest and most complicated land preservation project yet done by Open Lands, resulted in the preservation of 120 acres of a 200-acre parcel purchased by Open Lands in 1998. The property was formerly a working farm, and grazing, plowing, drainage, and buckthorn invasion had heavily impacted virtually all the land. Open Lands sold 60 acres of floodplain along the middle fork of the North Branch of Chicago River to the Lake County Forest Preserve District, which added it to the 500- acre Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve to the west. Open Lands has begun the restoration of the remaining sixty acres, including prairie, two savannas, and two wetlands. One wetland is completely new, while the other required the removal of drain tiles, acres of brush, and large stands of non-native grasses and weeds. Visitors will enjoy the sweeping views of the Middlefork Valley while standing among the 200-year-old bur oaks and shagbark hickories that dot the savanna. It’s a great place for a relaxing walk at sunset. Middlefork Farm Nature Preserve has several entrance points on the south side of Middlefork Drive and the north side of Acorn Drive. Park at the west end of Middlefork Drive next to the Elawa Farm buildings and walk east along the drive to the first trail entrance.
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