The Miami Woods Forest Preserve covers 112 acres stretching along the west side of the North Branch of the Chicago River from Oakton Street northward to Dempster Street. It is bounded on the west side by Caldwell Avenue, Waukegan Road and development at the intersection of Waukegan Road and Dempster Street. The land on the east side of the river forms the Saint Paul Woods Forest Preserve.
The main parking lot is on Caldwell about 1/4 mile north of Oakton where there is easy access to the bike path which runs from Devon Avenue to the Botanic Garden. From the bike path you can see and enjoy nature in the river, woodlands and the Miami Prairie. Things you may see include birds, butterflies, and native grasses and flowers that blossom and change throughout the seasons.
Miami Woods and Prairie contain important remnants of the original grasslands and woodlands that formed the natural heritage of the greater Chicago area. (See the Chicago Wilderness Atlas and Recovery Plan at www.chicagowilderness.org) The ultimate goal within Miami Woods and Prairie (except the turf grass picnic areas) is to achieve restoration to the highest ecological condition possible using a minimum amount of management intervention. Our approach is to restore natural processes so that the area will become as self sustaining as possible.
Restoration of the woods and prairie by Volunteers of the North Branch Restoration Project has been underway for more than 30 years. Following a five year moratorium, work resumed late in 2001 with thousands of hours of volunteer effort contributed annually since then. In addition to regular North Branch workdays, workdays have been held on multiple occasions for four elementary schools, a high school, three colleges, and the Goldman Sachs company. Help is also received regularly from the Friends of Morton Grove Forest Preserves. Restoration activities concentrate on removal of invasive brush and weeds, and on gathering and distributing hundreds of kinds of native seed from within the North Branch watershed.
Further information is available in the 2005 annual report Restoring Nature in Miami Woods, or on the website of the Cook County Forest Preserve.
Directions: Located on the east side of Caldwell, two blocks north of Oakton. Meet in the parking lot for Miami Woods.
To volunteer or for more information contact: Kent and Jerry Fuller (847) 729-4642 at Miami Woods