With more than one hundred acres of woodlands, prairies, and wetlands, it’s no wonder that the St. James Farm Forest Preserve is where many locals head when they want to spend time outdoors. Encompassing 612 acres, the first Europeans to settle on this land were farmers and several structures from the late 1800s farmsteads still stand. Visitors can enjoy an array of activities such as:
Hiking – Explore a 1.6-mile trail that meanders through the preserve’s natural areas. Along the way, you will see interpretive signs about the property’s history and wildlife such as white-tailed deer and fox squirrels. If you don’t want to hike, the trail is also used for biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing.
Fishing – Enjoy an hour or two of catch-and-release fishing in the front pond. It’s stocked with bass, bluegills, and catfish.
Bird Watching – Don’t forget to bring your binoculars as the preserve is home to several bird species. Those you’ll want to look out for include:
Red-bellied woodpeckers – These woodpeckers have a black and white barred back, grayish-white underparts, and a red cape and neck. They have a loud call that’s frequently heard during the spring and summer months.
Great blue herons – Great blue herons are the largest heron species in North America. Their body feathers are gray, blue, and white, while their neck is reddish in color. When it comes to mealtime, their slender bright orange bill helps them catch rodents, crabs, and small reptiles.
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