Why You Should Visit
Barker Woods is a dedicated state nature preserve (1975) located in Michigan City in LaPorte County. The mixed forest community is a rare urban example of old-growth forest. Among its inhabitants are white pine, red oak, white oak, sugar maple, red maple, witch hazel, partridge berry, and wintergreen. A hiking trail departs from the parking area in front of Barker House.
The old-growth forest at Barker Woods is a place for quiet contemplation amidst a busy urban environment. Walk its trail in spring. Enjoy the songs of migratory birds returning from their wintering grounds far to the south. Admire the flowering dogwood and shadbush in bloom. Linger in the shelter of tall oaks, maples, and pines. Return in October for a spectacular display of fall color.
What The Nature Conservancy is Doing/has Done
Development near Barker Woods has drastically altered the hydrological processes of the wet forest habitat by ridding the land of sufficient amounts of fresh water. In addition, Barker Woods is being overrun by many non-native species — such as burning bush, garlic mustard, lily of the valley, periwinkle, and privet — that were introduced through landscaping. Restoring the wet forest habitats and eradicating invasive species was our main goal--work that is now being performed by the Shirley Heinze Land Trust.
Work at this preserve is done in partnership with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.