Moraine Nature Preserve
Moraine Nature Preserve Moraine Nature Preserve © Christopher Jordan

Places We Protect

Moraine Nature Preserve

Indiana

Located north of Valparaiso, this preserve is a rolling, rugged and beautiful landscape.

Why You Should Visit 

In Porter County, the Valparaiso Moraine is a phenomenon of sand, soil and gravel deposits which run from southern Wisconsin through northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana into west-central Michigan. The tract contains a combination of rolling hills, steep ridges, deep-wooded gorges, muck pockets, potholes, and a natural kettle pond. Several Hoosier families in the area donated land and money for permanent protection of this peaceful preserve and surrounding areas. The area was dedicated as a State Nature Preserve in 1971 and in 1995.

What The Nature Conservancy is Doing/has Done 

One of the few large, unfragmented blocks of forest left in Northwest Indiana, Moraine Nature Preserve offers a valuable habitat to various plant and animal species as well as benefits the communities that surround it. Grown to more than 800 acres from its initial 160, The Nature Conservancy continues to find ways to protect this area from urban sprawl.

Moraine Nature Preserve is owned and managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' Division of Nature Preserves. Work done at the preserve is done in partnership with DNR-Lake Michigan Coastal Program, Indiana Heritage Trust, North America Wetland Conservation Act, Indiana Natural Heritage Protection Campaign, Shirley Heinze Land Trust and, the University of Chicago.

What to See: Plants and Animals

Old-growth remnants of oak-hickory forest, mesic beech-maple forest, and old farm fields reverting back to its natural wilderness are some of the ecosystems found in the Moraine Nature Preserve. As one of the few, large unfragmented blocks of forest left in northwest Indiana it is extremely valuable to nesting forest interior birds as well as migrating species. The forest floor is rich with wildflowers, particularly in the spring. Ponds and wetlands are used by many species of both rare and common wildlife. It isn't surprising to see local educators, students and researchers studying the vegetation and wildlife found here.

The easy to moderate terrain make for a pleasant hike through the preserve even though there are no established trails.