Nature Sites In and Around Ottawa
The Pleistocene epoch went out with a bang in northern Illinois as the southern shore of "Lake Chicago" gave way, sending an untold volume of glacial melt water barreling along the young Illinois River. The result? One of the most ornate river valleys in all of the Midwest, carved 125 feet deep into an 80-mile stretch of Paleozoic bedrock. Visual evidence of this incredible event exists in the sheer sandstone bluffs which line the southern bank and accompanying tributaries of the Illinois River between the towns of Marseilles and Utica. The best examples of these can found at Illini, Matthiessen, Buffalo Rock and starved Rock State Parks. For the best view of Starved Rock itself, visit the Illinois Waterway Visitors Center. While touring the loop, be sure to visit Catlin County Park, which hosts one of the best remaining chinquapin oak savannas in the state.
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So named because (legend has it) the area once served as a “blind canyon” where Indians ran buffalo for capture, this 298-acre park has long been a natural favorite. Much of B...View Details.
Acquired in 1970 by the LaSalle County Conservation District, the 333-acre Catlin Park (open May-October) is a mix of bluff land oak-hickory forest, chinquapin oak savanna, ma...View Details.
Located at the Starved Rock Lock & Dam, the Illinois Waterway Visitors Center is owned and operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps maintains the lock and dam sys...View Details.