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DeKalb County Forest Preserve
Merritt Prairie

hiking  picnic  crosscountry skiing 

Jim and Helen Merritt, professors at NIU, donated this 40 acre site in 1989; 16 more acres added a few years later. This preserve is about as hilly as DeKalb County gets. There are 2.5 miles of hiking trails, but it might seem like a lot more with all the up and down included. The old one-room Pierce Town Hall building sits near the preserve entrance. Three quarters of the preserve are still cool-season grass pasture intermingled with patches of shrubs and thin patches of prairie species that were over-seeded in the brome-grass slopes. About ten acres of planted prairie and four acres of wetland mitigation expand the native structure and diversity.


This 56-acre nature area offers: