Conrad Station Savanna
Conrad Station Savanna Conrad Station Savanna © Christopher Jordan

Places We Protect

Conrad Station Savanna

Indiana

Remnant foundations from the abandoned town of Conrad can be found at this black oak sand savanna.

Why You Should Visit

Conrad Station Savanna is a 360-acre sand savanna with black and white oaks growing on rolling sand hills and a prairie restoration planting in the southern flat ground. The property was purchased by the Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy in two transactions, 1996 and 1998.

Conrad is home to many animals and insects, including red-headed woodpeckers, glass lizards, swallowtails, promethea moths, as well as the historic town of Conrad, platted in 1908 by Jennie M. Conrad. The town was functioning for about 30 years, until Jennie passed away.

There is a two-mile trail through Conrad Station Savanna. Along the trail are two informational signs, one about Jennie M. Conrad and the town she created, and the other about savanna management.

Conrad Station Savanna is a wonderful place to explore in the spring to see spring wildflowers, in the summer for a hike in the shade of the oaks, and in the fall when the leaves are changing color.

Conrad Station Savanna is not to be confused with Conrad Savanna located on the west side of US 41. Conrad Savanna is 453 acres owned and managed by the Department of Natural Resources. The Nature Conservancy assisted in the purchase of Conrad Savanna and transferred ownership to the Department of Natural Resources.

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.

Conrad Station Savanna is owned and managed by both The Nature Conservancy and the Indiana DNR's Division of Nature Preserves. Work done at this preserve is in partnership with Cedar Lake Fish & Game Club, Indiana Heritage Trust, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Waterfowl USA, Wild Turkey Federation, and North America Wetlands Conservation Act.

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 a 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. 

For More Information

Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Nature Preserves