St Paul Woods is an inviting oak-hickory woodland situated east of the North Branch of the Chicago River. Like many of our native woodlands, it needs management to clear invasive brush and trees to restore the original structure. With increased sunlight, the wildflowers and grasses will once again add to the beauty of the woods. Join North Branch Restoration Project volunteers as we remove buckthorn and other weedy species, protecting our native ecosystems.
The pre-settlement Public Land Survey (PLS) indicates the entire site (N & S) was originally timbered with diverse trees including bur oak, white oak, hickory, elm, ash, and basswood. The open canopy fostered a rich understory, including young oak seedlings. In the absence of fire, sugar maple and basswood now account for most if not all of the new growth, shading out the vast majority of the plants on the forest floor. Coupled with an over-abundant deer population, the natural community struggled to renew itself. Management is bringing back the conditions that promote a healthy woodland.