Why You Should Visit
Kankakee Sands takes its name from its sandy soils, which support globally significant oak barrens, prairies and sedge meadows. This region offers rich habitat for birds and small animals. The Mskoda Sands preserve contains some of the best examples of black oak barrens in the Midwest. Unspoiled sand dunes and swales stretch as far as the eye can see.
The Kankakee Sands region presents an unequaled opportunity to protect a naturally functioning landscape, which remains almost unchanged since pre-settlement times.
St. Anne and Pembroke Townships in Kankakee County, northeastern Illinois
Open sunrise to sunset
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Oak savanna once covered about 27 to 32 million acres of the Midwest. By 1985, only 113 sites remained. Development has dramatically impacted the natural processes needed to maintain quality oak savanna ecosystems, making all the more important the preservation of what remains.
At nearly 1,800 acres of oak savanna, this preserve is part of a cross-state Conservancy project, on the border between Illinois and Indiana an hour south of Chicago. The project supports one of the greatest concentrations of black oak savannas remaining in the United States.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
The Conservancy continually works to increase the protected acres of savanna in the Kankakee Sands project area and restore this land to help protect the natural functions of this unique and fragile ecosystem.
Working across borders with the Conservancy in Indiana, Illinois land stewards have restored nearly 200 acres of agricultural land to native prairie and constructed shallow wetlands at the Conservancy's Mskoda Sands Preserve. Conservancy staff performs prescribed burns at two of the largest protected tracts, and stewards worked to control invasive species. Additionally, the Conservancy is working with local officials to reduce the damage caused by trespassers riding all-terrain vehicles.