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Kankakee

The massive glacial moraines just north of the Kankakee Region figured prominently in shaping this region. As the Wisconsin Glacier melted 16,000 years ago, these moraines acted as dams, trapping the immense volume of melting water and forming glacial Lake Chicago.

Those meltwaters finally overtopped the moraines, unleashing the Kankakee Torrent, a huge flood that left enormous sand deposits here in the Kankakee Region. In this sandy soil, black oak savannas and sand prairies flourished. The Kankakee River meandered through these flatlands, flanked on either side by wetlands that spanned hundreds of thousands of acres. A scarcely imaginable abundance of wildlife lived in these marshes, grasslands, and woodlands.

That landscape changed dramatically in the early 1900s as the marshlands were drained and converted to agriculture, the Kankakee channelized, and the prairies plowed under. Several sites within the Kankakee Region conserve precious remnants of this native landscape-from the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, where tens of thousands of sandhill cranes gather during fall migration, to Kankakee Sands, where The Nature Conservancy has restored 5,000 acres of wetlands and prairie.

Among the 8 sites within the Kankakee Region of the Beyond the Beach Discovery Trail, you’ll also find cultural sites like Dunn’s Bridge, believed to have been constructed of steel salvaged from the original Ferris Wheel exhibited in Chicago in 1893.

Read more about the Kankakee Region sites here, and start planning your next adventure on the Beyond the Beach Discovery Trail. For the Kankakee Region itinerary suggestions, click here.

There never was anything quite like the old Kankakee marsh in northwestern Indiana. …The superabundance of its feathered game and fur and fish was next to unbelievable. I have heard old men recall the mighty rush of wings as clouds of ducks rose before the guns of the market hunters, listened to their description of creaking wagons hauling hundred-pound bales of mink and otter and ‘coon and muskrat skins into the railroad towns, and pictured through their memory the flatbottom boats that sometimes sank under loads of bass and perch and pickerel.
-William Bridges, New York Zoological Society, Nov-Dec, 1935

Aukiki Wetland Conservation Area has been added to your travel planner!
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Aukiki Wetland Conservation Area

State Rte 49, Wheatfield

This 650-acre parcel, donated by NiSource, conserves a mix of wetlands, black...Read More

T: (219) 285-2184 | View Website

Dunn's Bridge County Park has been added to your travel planner!
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Dunn's Bridge County Park

500 East County Rd, Kouts

Legend has it that this beautiful and unusual bridge was built with steel...Read More

T: (219) 465-3586 | View Website

Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park has been added to your travel planner!
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Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park

21690 Range Line Rd, Hebron

This 2,069-acre park, located along the historic Kankakee River, floods...Read More

T: (219) 769-7275 | View Website

Jasper Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area has been added to your travel planner!
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Jasper Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area

US Rte 421, Medaryville

This gem of a wildlife area conserves 8,062 acres of wetland, upland, and...Read More

T: (219) 843-4841 | View Website

Kankakee Fish and Wildlife Area has been added to your travel planner!
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Kankakee Fish and Wildlife Area

4320 W Toto Rd, North Judson

Designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society, 4,199-acre...Read More

T: (574) 896-3522 | View Website

Kankakee Sands has been added to your travel planner!
This listing has been removed from your travel planner!

Kankakee Sands

3294 N US 41, Morocco

Kankakee Sands conserves more than 7,000 acres of prairie, savanna, and...Read More

T: (219) 285-2184 | View Website

LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area has been added to your travel planner!
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LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area

4752 W 1050 N, Lake Village

LaSalle Fish & Wildlife Area conserves 3,797 acres of hardwood forests,...Read More

T: (219) 992-3019 | View Website

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Indiana Dunes

Nature’s Masterpiece

Did you know the Indiana Dunes has a 15-mile coastline with sandy beaches, more than 70 miles of hiking trails and more than 350 species of birds? Explore the Indiana Dunes, then shake off the sand south of the dunes with great lodging, dining, shopping and attractions.