At more than a square mile, the Manitou Island Wetlands is one of the larger dedicated state nature preserves in Indiana. The preserve offers critical habitats for both terrestrial and wetland, migratory and resident species. Nearly 200 species of plants have been recorded; it is also an important haven for a multitude of animal and bird species.
North Central Tillplain
Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife, Division of Nature Preserves and The Nature Conservancy
*The Conservancy's ownership is scheduled to be transferred to the Division of Nature Preserves in the near future.
Indiana Heritage Trust & Indiana Natural Heritage Protection Campaign
The islands of Lake Manitou offer oak-hickory forests, tall stands of tamaracks and nearly 200 speciesof vascular plants including purple-flowerd pickered weed, yellow & white water lily, hibiscus and wild rice among the cattails and tall grasses. it is an excellent habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, small mammals and whitetail deer. Mallards, Wood Ducks, Wilson Snipes, and Blue-winged Teals breed in the tall grasses. Shovelers, Canvasbacks, Less Scaups, Ringnecks and Canada Geese are just a few of the bird species that are common visitors during there spring and fall migration stop-overs.
Visitation access is by boat only via the Public Fishing Access on the east shore of the lake. Visitors should use caution as hunting is allowed in the area during season. It is suggested that one does not leave the vessel as there are no existing trails.
From Rochester, travel south on U.S. 31 until it turns slightly southeast (near Wagoner and C.r. 300 S). Turn left (east) on Wabash Road and travel past the railroad tracks. A lane and parking lot (look for a sign reading Judy Barton Nature Preserve) is on the right side of the road just before it splits.