Douglas Woods
Douglas Woods Fish Creek runs through Douglas Woods Nature Preserve. © Ron

Places We Protect

Douglas Woods

Indiana

Douglas Woods is a preserve that just keeps getting better and better.

Why You Should Visit

Located in DeKalb and Steuben Counties, Douglas Woods was dedicated as a State Nature Preserve in 1993. Containing one of the last remaining old-growth forest stands in northeast Indiana, this preserve boasts almost 400 acres of old growth forest with the balance in a younger forest, old fields, and tillable land. The diameters of some of these truly majestic trees reach nearly four feet with canopies easily topping the 100-foot mark. Look for silver maples mingling with a variety of oak and hickory trees. Fish Creek, a high-quality stream home to several species of important fish and mussels, runs through Douglas Woods.

What The Nature Conservancy is Doing/has Done

Much of the tillable land is leased to a local farmer willing to practice conservation tillage to demonstrate to area farmers how to reduce soil loss and chemical runoff without sacrificing productivity or profits. The remainder of the old farmland is being reforested to increase habitat for woodland birds and other wildlife. Within the forest, control efforts are ongoing to eradicate garlic mustard from the site. 

This work is done in partnership with the Indiana Department of Nature Preserves, Indiana Heritage Trust, Indiana University Purdue University of Fort Wayne, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services  

What to See: Plants and Animals

Douglass Woods' forests, buttonbush, and sedges, along with its wetlands and ponds, are home to a nesting colony of Great Blue Herons, a variety of hawks, pheasants, and deer as well as many amphibians including the rare Blanding's turtle and the blue-spotted salamander. The preserve can get quite noisy on a warm, spring day with the constant calls of frogs, hawks, and herons. The preserve also includes part of Fish Creek, known for several species of freshwater mussels including a few listed as federally endangered.
 

The preserve is open to the public though there are no trails on its easy to moderate terrain.