John Merle Coulter Nature Preserve
This 92-acre property is a dedicated state nature preserve located in the City of Portage. It is a complex of oak savanna, sand prairie, and interdunal wetlands that supports over 400 species of plants, including 19 state-listed species. This unique property was sand mined in the 1930s, producing surprising results: habitat was created for several rare species, and the disturbed areas were re-colonized almost exclusively by native plants. An old railroad bed serves as in informal hiking trail from west to east. Enter the preserve from a parking area on the east side of County Line Road, just south of the MonoSol plant.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Sustain Our Great Lakes Program, Natural Resource Damage Assessment Fund, NIPSCO Environmental Challenge Fund, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Lake Michigan Coastal Program, Wildlife Habitat Council, U.S. Forest Service.
This complex of sand prairie, oak savanna, and wetlands boasts an extraordinary botanic diversity with more than 400 species of plants identified, many of them state-listed. Prickly pear cactus produces its showy yellow blossoms in early summer. An outstanding display of prairie wildflowers attracts a variety of butterflies in late summer. Coulter is a good place to find blue racers, hognose snakes, and six-lined racerunner lizards.
From U.S. 20, travel north on County Line Road (Lake/Porter Counties) about ½ mile to a small gravel parking area on the east side of County Line Road, just south of the MonoSol plant. From U.S. 12, travel about ½ mile south to the parking area.
Photos by Ron Trigg