Why You Should Visit
Conrad Station Savanna is a large, high-quality black oak sand savanna in Newton County. Conrad Station is east of U.S. 41 and is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. Conrad Savanna, another black oak sand savanna, is west of U.S. 41 and is owned and managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' Division of Nature Preserves. Oak savanna is the predominant plant community on these dry sands, with black and white oaks being the most common trees, but interestingly the prickly pear cactus also finds a home here. Remnant foundations from the abandoned town of Conrad, including a blacksmith shop, church, and school, still exist on the preserve. Conrad Station Savanna has an amazing history.
809 Acres (Conrad Station Savanna and Conrad Savanna)
State Nature Preserve, 1992 and 2013
Owned & Managed By
The Nature Conservancy, Indiana DNR's Division of Nature Preserves
Cedar Lake Fish & Game Club, Indiana Heritage Trust, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Waterfowl USA, Wild Turkey Federation and North America Wetlands Conservation Act
What The Nature Conservancy has Done/is Doing
For the past several years, volunteer stewardship workdays have focused on restoring the savanna, both by the physical removal of woody plant species and the re-introduction of prescribed fires to maintain this community. The Conservancy's goals also include working with the Department of Nature Preserves to simulate pre-settlement conditions in the restoration of the areas south of the preserve and to establish the site as a premier Black Oak Barrens preserve.
We've been doing the work, now it's time to monitor our restoration progress at Conrad Station.
What to See: Plants and Animals
Conrad Station Preserve contains broad flat areas alternating with rolling sand dunes. Although the dunes were opened and sculpted by the wind after the last glaciation, today they are covered by trees, grasses, and sedges.
Typical sand savanna plants that dominate the scene here include Junegrass, Pennsylvania sedge, porcupine grass, little bluestem, Indian grass and big bluestem. Other more showy savanna plants include hairy puccoon, cleft phlox, New Jersey tea and sand milkweed. Prickly pear cactus thrives on a few small open rises. Red-head woodpeckers, turkey and quail are often spotted on the preserve. Birdwatching at Kankakee Sands can be wonderful experience, but for everyone’s safety, caution should be exercised at all times. If birding from roadways, please use your flashing lights and pull over to the side of the road. Whether in a car or on foot, birders must not impede traffic. Glass lizards are common, but rarely observes as they spend most of their lives underground.
A 1.8 mile loop trail complete with interpretive signs can be found at this preserve. our ongoing restoration of the site is evident on this hike; note the efforts to thin out the canopy with fire and the dramatic response of wildflowers in these open spaces. Please consult the Conservancy’s Preserves Visitation Guidelines for visitation information.
For More Information
From I-65 take S.R. 114 west to U.S. 41. Take U.S. 41 north approximately 11 miles until you reach County Rd. 725N. Turn right (east) and proceed for 0.5 mile. Park in the lot.
From Lake Village, travel south on U.S. 41 for 2 miles to C.R. 700 N and turn left (east). Continue driving until a sharp right hand turn and then continue to the parking lot straight ahead.