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Lake County Forest Preserves | Preservation, Restoration, Education and Recreation

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Rollins Savanna



Address

20160 West Washington Street
Grayslake, IL 60030

Hours

6:30 am–sunset, daily.

Maps

Trail Map
Directions

Acreage

1,221 acres

Activities

Biking
Exhibits
Hike Lake County Challenge
Hiking
Self-Guided Trails & Exhibits
Snowmobiling
Summer Camps
Cross-Country Skiing

Amenities

Flush Toilets
Drinking Water
Public Parking
Trails

Related Sites

Millennium Trail and Greenway
Native Seed Nursery

Related Documents

Countywide Map and Guide

One of Lake County's largest forest preserves, Rollins Savanna offers the perfect setting for grassland birds and other wildlife.

Trails

A 5.5-mile gravel trail with bridges and boardwalks winds through wetlands, groves of large oaks and open prairies teeming with wildflowers and native grasses. The trail is open for hiking, bicycling and cross-country skiing. Snowmobiles can parallel a small section of the trail as they pass through the preserve. A connection to our regional Millennium Trail is available from this preserve. Please keep dogs leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them. Learn about our off-leash Dog Parks (permit required).

Native Seed Nursery

Rare and hard-to-collect seeds of different native species are carefully grown here. The nursery gives our restoration ecologists access to these rare plants that were previously cost prohibitive or unavailable. We use the plants grown here to restore native habitat through the forest preserves.

Birder's Field of Dreams

Rollins Savanna is named an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society due to the large number of endangered yellow-headed blackbirds that have found refuge here. Dubbed a “Birder’s Field of Dreams,” the preserve is favored by bird watchers.

A bird observation area near the Drury Lane parking area provides a safe, accessible way for all of our visitors to view and enjoy birds. This observation area consists of a stone path that provides access from the existing preserve trail system to a raised platform. This observation deck is a gathering space that offers a clear view of the adjacent grassland and wetland. Learn more »

The deck features magnified viewing scopes. Interpretive signs inform visitors about habitat and species they might see from that vantage point. Oak trees around the seating area provide shade for visitors using the observation deck and also help them blend into the landscape to create less of a disturbance to wildlife using that habitat.

History

Rollins Savanna was acquired in phases between 1988 and 1993. Extensive work to renovate this unique preserve to restore its valuable ecosystems and provide outdoor recreation and nature and history education opportunities was completed in 2004.

The Natural Scene

Our natural resource crews and project partners have been working to restore this unique preserve to enhance its valuable ecosystems. More than 450 acres of former farmland have been restored as part of a massive habitat restoration and preservation project here, representing the largest restoration effort we've ever undertaken. Learn more »

Unique to Rollins Savanna is its large size, uninterrupted by roads and development, and its existing diverse natural resource features. Rich black soils found at this preserve once dominated Midwestern landscape in the 1800s. The preserve protects the south fork of Mill Creek, frontage on Third Lake and large interior wetland complexes that provide needed food sources and rest stops for ruddy ducks, blue-winged teal, great blue herons, egrets and a variety of waterfowl species. Grassland birds, waterfowl and other wildlife are drawn to the site’s oak savannas and expansive prairies and wetlands.

Extensive habitat restoration efforts were completed along the Mill Creek corridor and on over 200 acres of wetlands. One of the project goals is to establish Rollins Savanna as an ecological research site and outdoor classroom for local universities, schools and other organizations.

Location

The main entrance is located on Washington Street at Atkinson Road, just west of Route 45 and east of Route 83. A second entrance is located to the north on Drury Lane.

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