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Nippersink Canoe Base - McHenry County Conservation District

400 E. US Highway 12 | Spring Grove, IL 60081 | 815-338-6223
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Nippersink Canoe Base - McHenry County Conservation District Nippersink Canoe Base - McHenry County Conservation District

Situated along the southern banks of Nippersink Creek, the 377-acre conservation site is home to a variety of natural communities including savanna and woodland, marsh, fen and sedge meadow. The creek and its wetlands support a thriving diversity of fish, frogs, and other aquatic creatures. Water fowl and other wading birds can be seen along the shorelines in addition to a myriad of native wetland plants and prairie wildflowers.

Once overgrown and choked by invasive brush, Nippersink Canoe Base now boasts a gallant oak and hickory grove where sun dapples the woodland floor. A small shelter provides a brief respite and lunch spot after a morning canoe ride, while a creekside fire pit and a short looped nature trails offers visitors additional ways to enjoy the scenic site.

History In 1976, the District purchased 71 acres for its strategic location at the confluence of Nippersink Creek and the Fox River and opened the site shortly afterward. The site provided paddlers will a put in/pull out location. In 2006, the Conservation District purchased the 113-acre from the Kattner family who farmed the area since 1950. Shortly following, the District began an extensive restoration on the 113-acre site to restore the hydrology to the wetlands and to adjoin uplands to a diverse wetland complex. The former fens, marshes and sedge meadows surrounding the stream were ditched in the early 20th century to allow for agricultural fields. Thereby, sub-surface tile fields had to be removed, 8,300 feet of ditch were filled, 500 feet of severely eroded stream bank underwent stabilization to create a more natural slope, 35 acres of exotic species were removed, and a diverse mix of native prairie/wetland were planted to reduce erosion into the newly re-created wetlands and stream while providing improved cover for native wildlife.

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Note: Some map locations are approximate. Please call the venue at 815-338-6223 for exact directions.

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