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Grainger Woods Conservation Preserve

This preserve harbors a rare stand of northern flatwoods, ecologically valuable wetlands, and several state-listed threatened and endangered species. Two natural communities found on the site include a wet-mesic prairie and a high quality sedge meadow that contain more that 165 native plant species. Healthy, native plants are now thriving in pastures where horses once grazed. Townline Stables operates a boarding stable at the northwest corner of the preserve.



Grainger Woods Conservation Preserve is located on Saint Mary’s Road and Route 60, just west of the I-94 tollway in Mettawa.

The entrance to Townline Stables is located on the southeast corner of Saint Mary's Road and Route 60. [View on Google Maps]



In 1996, Grainger donated 261 acres, valued at $14 million, to the Lake County Forest Preserves. It represents the largest single land donation in the agency's history and is part of the conservation development plan for Grainger’s 515-acre corporate headquarters. In 1999, additional land adjacent to Grainger Woods was purchased to further protect environmentally sensitive wetlands, a sedge meadow and wet-mesic prairie.

Preserve Improvements

Grainger Woods Conservation Preserve is undergoing a comprehensive ecological restoration through a 7-year $1.5 million project to remove non-native and invasive species, and re-establish native species to support native habitats. The project is supported by a generous $500,000 grant from The Grainger Foundation.


The Natural Scene

At Grainger Woods, mesic oak woodlands, wetlands, meadows and prairies harbor several state-listed threatened and endangered species including a sedge not seen in the Chicago region since 1955.

The site’s rare northern flatwoods contain mainly swamp white oaks, black ash, musclewood and hop hornbeam. Seasonally flooded woods, flatwoods are wet in the spring and fall and dry during summer. The site also features a large formerly-grazed pasture that is slowly returning to its original prairie state as evident by emerging native plants including prairie dock, golden ragwort, blue-eyed grass, large yellow fox sedge, crested oval sedge, wild strawberry and other plant species.

Several grassland birds have found excellent habitat in the abundant pasture grasses. The bobolink, meadowlark, Eastern kingbird and the savanna sparrow were spotted on the site by forest preserve staff, and a voice identification was made of the state-threatened Henslow’s sparrow.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has designated a 169-acre portion in the southwestern part of Grainger Woods as an Illinois Nature Preserve, a status conferred only on the state’s most ecologically sensitive public lands. The designation will provide protection to seven state endangered or threatened species.


Contact Information

Grainger Woods Conservation Preserve
Townline Stables
25910 N St Marys Rd
Mettawa, IL 60045
847-247-5830 (phone)

Preserve News

ALERT: Trail Closures
Board approves 100-year Vision and Strategic Plan
Board approves 100-year vision

Upcoming Events

Nov 1 Restoration Workdays

Preserve Improvements

Woodland Habitat Restoration Project