It would be hard to find a prettier blend of marsh, woodland and grassland in Lake County than that found here.
Three miles of trails for hiking, bicycling and cross-country skiing take visitors through open areas of gently rolling hills that feature views of the marsh and scattered groves. Please keep dogs leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them. Learn about our off-leash Dog Parks (permit required).
A 0.9-mile gravel trail winds from the southern loop of the main trail through the southwest corner of the preserve to Barrington's Citizens Park. This trail segment includes a boardwalk and a 50-foot-long timber bridge. An anonymous donor contributed $100,000 toward the cost of the bridge as a memorial to Keith Peterson, a former Lake County Forest Preserve Board member (District 5; 1972–76), and devoted naturalist and outdoorsman.
When settlers first came to this land, it was prairie and marsh with a grove of oaks. They drained the marsh, plowed the prairie and planted crops. In the 1950s and 60s, most of the farmers sold their land to investors who planned to develop homes. Local residents wanted the area preserved as open space. They banded together to form “Citizens for Conservation” and helped the Lake County Forest Preserves preserve the property.
A mansion overlooking a mosaic of canals and forested islands once stood on the northwest side of the preserve. Cuba Marsh received its name from its location on Cuba Road, which traverses Cuba and Ela Townships. Cuba Township was originally named Troy Township, but changed in 1850 to show support for an insurrection at that time on the island nation of Cuba.
One of the best things about Cuba Marsh is its diversity, combining marsh and prairie with woodland and savanna. As a result, a wide range of plants and animals make their homes here. The wetland supports many species and is a great spot to view waterfowl such as pied-billed grebes and American coots. It also provides flood relief to nearby homes and cleanses the water that flows into Flint Creek and eventually the Fox River.
A unique dry-hill prairie on the preserve’s southeast side is supports rare plants. Though the rest of Cuba Marsh was farmed at one time, plows luckily never reached this prairie. Much work has gone into restoring this preserve, including the removal of drainage tiles and non-native invasive species, and replanting of more than 80,000 trees.
The entrance is on Cuba Road, west of Ela Road and east of Route 59.
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