This 521-acre property is a dedicated state nature preserve located in Springfield Township and Michigan City. The flatwoods ecosystem harbors relict populations of several plant species that are typical of more northern latitudes. Ambler is the largest Shirley Heinze nature preserve. It is largely forested, with a rich herbaceous flora. In early spring, vernal pools and rivulets cover a great portion of the property. The dense, thick woods provide habitat for 39 state-listed plant species and 40 plants considered rare in the Chicago Region (as determined by Swink & Wilhelm in Plants of the Chicago Region). There are four miles of hiking trails departing from two trailheads/parking areas on Meer Road and County Road 900 North.
Photos by Ron Trigg unless otherwise stated
During the evening hours in early spring, the woodland ponds at Ambler come alive with a choir of calling frogs. Tiny chorus frogs and spring peepers – neither larger than an inch and a half in length –call for several weeks. The somewhat larger wood frog joins in for just a few days. Their appearance is a sure sign that spring’s annual rebirth is fully underway.
From I-94, take exit 40 (U.S. 20 west toward Michigan City). After going under I-94, take first right onto County Rd. 600 West (Meer Rd.). The main parking area is on the left (west) side of the road, 0.4 mile north of County Rd. 800 N (Tryon Rd.). To access the northern trailhead parking lot, continue north on Meer Rd. to County Rd 900 N (Freyer Rd.). Turn right (east) about 0.3 mile. Trailhead parking is on the south side of the road.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Michigan City Community Enrichment Corporation, Sustain Our Great Lakes Program, Wildlife Habitat Council, U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resource Damage Assessment Fund.
1106 "Caring for the Earth" Promo