Noble County boasts many nature preserves, including ACRES land trust properties with hiking trails. Information on our wildlife areas is below:
ACRES Land Trust Preserves
1802 Chapman Road, Huntertown, IN 46748
ACRES properties in Noble County are open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk.
Lloyd W. Bender Memorial Forest
West River Road, Albion
This preserve has a variety of plants, lowland forest and sedge meadow with several types of trees, birds and wildflowers.
Detering Nature Preserve
U.S. 6 East, Kendallville
This property was formerly a “Green Grocer” farm for the Kendallville area but the fields are regenerating hardwood forest. The trail leading to Round Lake finds wetlands, dogwood trees and wild iris.
Art Hammer Wetlands Preserve
County Road 1050 North, Eagle Island Road, Rome City, IN (Preserve is on the right)
This is the largest of the ACRES preserves in Noble County. It has a variety of habitats, swamp forest, upland forest, low wetlands, a small lake and a length of the Elkhart River shoreline. Birds and wildflowers abound.
Ralph E. Gates Nature Preserve
Crooked Lake off Indiana 109 south of Merriam
This deep-ravine, heavily forested property is located between Crooked lake and the Indiana University Biology States. Crooked Lake is spring-fed and is the second deepest lake in Indiana. Blue and green herons, scarlet tanagers, kingfishers and wood ducks are often seen.
Lonidaw Nature Preserves
County Road 1000 North, Kendallville
Lonidaw is a Native American name meaning “Spirit Queen of the Woods.” Stately beeach and maple trees grow on upland ridges among beautiful wildflowers. The preserve protects three-quarters of a five-acre kettle lake called Little Whitford.
Edna W. Spurgeon Woodland Reserve
County Road 600 West, Ligonier, IN
This is the first Noble County property acquired by ACRES and is locally know as “The Knobs.” Glaciers left low ridges of stratified layers of sand, gravel and a few boulders. A forest of beach, sugar maple and tulip trees grow here among many wildflowers.
Other Noble County Nature Preserves
Bixler Lake Park
Park Avenue, Kendallville; www.kendallville-in.org
Known as the community swimming hole, the lands around the lake were set aside “as a place of public resort where all trees were to be protected.” Unique features include a wetlands nature area with deep woods and apiary display.
Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site
1205 Pleasant Point, Rome City, IN 46784
The “Cabin at Wildflower Woods” is nestled on 125 acres of fields, woods and formal gardens along the Sylvan lake shore. Gene designed and developed both her formal and informal wildflower gardens using plants from all around Indiana.
Jenny Thompson Gardens
West Union Street, Ligonier
Ligonier Parks Department, 260-894-7344
This small quiet place of beauty is nestled in Ligonier. Take the brick pathways to enjoy brilliant flower beds and water fountain.
Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College
P.O. Box 263, Wolf Lake, IN 46796
260-799-5869; fax (260) 799-5875; www.goshen.edu/merrylea
Goshen College owns this natural sanctuary of 1,189 acres “where earth and people meat.” Several unique geological features are located here as well as wetlands, prairie and savanna areas. The nature center is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; call ahead to confirm hours. Eight miles of hiking trails for foot traffic only are open every day from dawn to dusk at no charge. Trail maps are available at trailhead boxes located at the Farmstead and at the Learning Center building. Visit the website for complete visitor guidelines and information.
Noble County 4-H Park
1250 W 300 N, Albion
Visit an in-process 50-50-50 project featuring Indiana trees, shrubs and wildflowers. Signs along walking trails introduce a variety of native flora. The trails, which are short and informal, are open dawn to dusk.
Tri-County Fish & Wildlife Area
8432 N. 850 E. Syracuse, IN 46567
Contact for Eagle Lake Westland Conservation Area, Mallard Roost Westland Conservation Area and Rome City Wetland Conservation Area