Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
|Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie|
IUCN category VI (protected area with sustainable use of natural resources)
Tallgrass prairie and woodlands.
|Location||Will County, Illinois, USA|
|Area||18,226 acres (7,376 ha)|
|Governing body||U.S. Forest Service|
The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie—MNTP is a tallgrass prairie reserve and United States National Grassland operated by the United States Forest Service. It is located on the site of the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant near Elwood, in northeastern Illinois.
MNTP was the first tallgrass prairie reserve, and remains the only federally managed one located east of the Mississippi River, where surviving areas of that habitat are extremely rare. It is also the largest contiguous open land reserve in the greater Chicago area.
The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie was established by federal law in 1996. Major proponents of the park's establishment and restoration included World War II flying ace William J. Cullerton. The Illinois Land Conservation Act (Public Law 104-106) created the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, designated the transfer of 19,165 acres (7,756 ha) of land in Illinois from the U.S. Army to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service.
The Illinois Land Conservation Act mandates that Midewin be managed to meet four primary objectives:
- To conserve, restore, and enhance the native populations and habitats of fish, wildlife, and plants.
- To provide opportunities for scientific, environmental, and land use education and research.
- To allow the continuation of existing agricultural uses of lands within Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie for the next 20 years, or for compatible resource management uses thereafter.
- To provide recreational opportunities that are compatible with the above purposes.
The first land transfer from the Army to the Forest Service took place on March 10, 1997, and included 15,080 acres (6,100 ha) of land that was believed to be free from contamination. Subsequent land acquisitions place the current size of Midewin at about 20,000 acres (8,100 ha).
After a period of ecological restoration, part of the prairie opened to visitors in 2004.
Today, over 7,000 acres (2,800 ha) acres of the reserve are open, with public trails for non-motorized recreation. The MNTP headquarters entrance is located on Illinois Route 53, near the center of the preserve.
See also 
- "Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- Land Areas of the National Forest System. U.S. Forest Service. January 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- Megan, Graydon (2013-01-16). "William Cullerton, 1923-2013 WWII pilot, entrepreneur, radio host and well-known outdoorsman championed conservation". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- usda.gov: Text of Illinois Land Conservation Act of 1995 — law establishing Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie|
- US Forest Service site for Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
- The National Forest Foundation: "Restoration and Conservation Plan for Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie" — (2011 plan)