Dale B. Engquist Nature Preserve
photo: Susan Kirt
Dale B. Engquist Nature Preserve consists of riparian habitat along both banks of the East Branch of the Little Calumet River. Some portions recently in agriculture will ultimately be restored to natural habitat. Floodplain, upland forest, and old oxbows are present. Engquist Preserve was a key element in efforts to preserve land in the Little Calumet River Conservation Corridor. Located adjacent to the Heron Rookery unit of Indiana Dunes National Park and Reynolds Creek State Game Bird Habitat, it creates an area of nearly 2,000 contiguous acres of protected land, a boon to the many common mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians which live here.
Dominant trees are red oak, silver maple, shagbark hickory, black cherry, pin oak, swamp white oak, and pawpaw, and wildflowers identified include Virginia waterleaf, false rue anemone, meadow rue, and lizard’s tail. Pure-white puffball mushrooms, some as large as a baseball, and the shiny red fruits of Jack-in-the-pulpit are abundant on the forest floor. Spring is the best time to visit the preserve. A variety of spring wildflowers cover the forest floor in April and May. Migratory birds are attracted to woodland and wetland habitats.
Dale B. Engquist Preserve is located east of the Town of Chesterton. From I-94, exit south on St Rd 49 to Indian Boundary Rd. Travel east for 1.3 miles to Brummitt Rd. Turn left on Brummitt, continue for .5 mile to E 1300 N. Continue on E 1300 N for about 1.3 miles to the main parking lot. Additionally, a small parking spot is located on N 450 E near the larger parcel. A loop trail traverses the perimeter of the preserve.