visitors will enjoy the pine scent and needle-softened trail
leading into the savanna of white, bur, and black oaks
from housing and agricultural development, Lyons Woods is
a 264-acre high quality mix of restored prairie, oak savanna,
forest and fen near Waukegan. The preserve is named for
its first known landowner, Isaac Reed Lyons of Massachusetts,
who arrived here in 1843 and served as an alderman and business
owner in Waukegan.
I-94, go north until it becomes Rte. 41. Take 41 north
to Delaney Rd. Turn west (right), onto Delaney and follow
to Yorkhouse Rd. Turn right onto Yorkhouse and take
it about four miles to North Ave. Take North to Blanchard
Rd., and turn left into the parking lot.
evergreen grove just off the parking lot on Blanchard Roada
great spot for birdingwas once part of George Pavliks
tree nursery in the 1940s. Winter visitors will enjoy the
pine scent and needle-softened trail leading north into
the savanna of planted white, bur and black oaks. Red osier
dogwood, bottlebrush grass, New England asters, and grassleaf
goldenrod line the trail in the meadow of former agricultural
fields. Tom Smith, Lake County Forest Preserve District
Volunteer Coordinator, explains that though the area is
still somewhat degraded, his teams have put in a lot of
work planting and burning. They can take pride in falls
healthy display of prairie thistle and side-flowering aster.
Theres also a notable lack of buckthorn, garlic mustard
and unwanted weeds.
outstanding mesic prairie, covering the west half of the
preserve, and also accessible from Blanchard Rd., just west
of North Ave., harbors several state-endangered species.
in the prairie winds, big bluestem, Indian and switch grasses,
soon to be tamped down with snow, surround several abandoned
goldfinch nests and busy bluebird boxes. Bluebird habitat
efforts have been successful here; several bright males
may be seen flitting between the taller dogwood and buckthorn
trees. Students at nearby Clark School have helped with
the boxes, plantings and workdays, as part of the Mighty
Acorns and Preservation Partners programs. Near the school,
dozens of low, pillowy stands of prairie dropseed grass
appear. Dropseed is considered to be the most common prairie
plant native to the area, rather than the taller grasses,
according to letters from Dr. George Vasey, 19th century
botanist and expert on grasses (see p. 10).
spring and summer, look for trillium, liatris, sedges, Drummonds
aster and several varieties of goldenrod. Towering sawtooth
sunflower, iris and prairie dock also provide shelter for
bobolinks, prairie larks, and many species of snake. Red-tail
fox are also at home here.
Woods is bounded on the west by the North Shore bike path
(McClory Trail), and includes three more miles of trials
open to hiking, bicycling and cross-country skiing. Pets
are allowed on leashes, and a public toilet is available
at the easternmost Blanchard Road trail entrance.