About the Forest
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
Midewin is located in Will County, the fastest-growing county in the state, both for business and in residential development. Will County offers all the benefits of easy highway access and a wide variety of communities and educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities. Check out the Enjoy Illinois Website at http://www.enjoyillinois.com for more information.
Prairie Supervisor's Office and Welcome Center
Prairie Supervisor's Office and Welcome Center
30239 S. State Route 53
Wilmington, IL 60481
Phone: (815) 423 - 6370
To contact Public Affairs Officer and Public Services Team Leader Veronica Hinke, call 815-386-0711 or email Veronica.Hinke@USDA.gov
May 2 to November 5
Mon - Sat: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
November to April
Mon - Fri: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Mon - Sun: 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
From the I-80 exit for Wilmington
- Exit onto Route 53 South
- Travel south on Route 53 for 13 miles.
- The Supervisor's Office/Welcome Center will be located on the left/east side of Route 53
From the I-55 exit for North River Road, Exit 241
- Exit onto North River Road
- Travel on North River Road for 4 miles.
- Turn left/north at the stoplight onto Route 53
- Travel north on Route 53 for 1 mile
- The Supervisor's Office/Welcome Center will be located on the right/east side of Route 53
The Midewin Supervisor’s Office is the building with the three flagpoles in front of it. The SO houses most of the Forest Service, partner, and volunteer staff who manage the prairie. It is the hub of all activities on site.
There are several other buildings at the Midewin Headquarters:
The Midewin Welcome Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. year-round and on Saturdays during busy seasons. It is located in the Midewin Supervisor’s Office, through the doors near the three flagpoles. Visitors can see interpretive exhibits about Midewin’s natural and cultural history, ask questions at the counter, obtain free trail maps, and shop at the Midewin Interpretive Association’s book shop.
Midewin’s Horticulture Building is located behind the Midewin Supervisor’s Office to the east. This is where Midewin staff and volunteers process and clean the seed used for prairie restoration. The building provides storage space for restoration tools and equipment, and it also houses a workshop for woodworking projects, such as sign construction. Outside the building are three shade houses and a greenhouse that are used for the propagation of native plants. The three plantings in front of the building feature some of the shorter prairie grasses including prairie dropseed, little bluestem, side-oats grama, June grass, and tufted hair-grass. Prairie wildflowers in the plantings include purple and white prairie clovers, royal catchfly, Ohio horsemint, and Sullivant’s coneflower.
Just to the south of the horticulture building is Midewin’s Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS). This is one of almost 1,500 interagency RAWS located throughout the U.S. The weather station records wind speed and direction, solar radiation, temperature, humidity, rainfall, fuel moisture and temperature. Hourly weather observation records from Midewin dating from late 2004 can be accessed here.
The Midewin Interagency Hotshot Crew makes their home in two buildings on site, the training and office building and the garage. The Midewin IHC was formed in 2001 and is a national resource, called out to fight wildland fires around the country. The IHC also assists in prescribed burning here at Midewin.
The Machine Shed, located just northeast of the Midewin Supervisor’s Office, is for storage of the tractors and other farming equipment needed for restoring such a large landscape at Midewin.
There are three communities on Midewin's boundaries: Wilmington, Elwood, and Manhattan:
Wilmington: The Midewin headquarters is located along State Route 53 (aka Historic Route 66) two miles north of the city of Wilmington, Illinois. Wilmington is a river community of about 5,000, boasting dozens of antique shops and an island park in the center of town. For more information on Wilmington, visit http://www.wilmington-il.com/.
Elwood: The Village of Elwood is located about 7 miles north of Wilmington along State Route 53 (aka Historic Route 66) at Midewin's north-central border. For more information on Elwood, visit http://www.villageofelwood.com/.
Manhattan: The Village of Manhattan is located 3 miles from Midewin's northeast corner. There is a Metra station here providing public transit into Chicago via the Southwest Service line. The Wauponsee Glacial Trail connects Manhattan's Metra station to Midewin's east boundary entrance. For more information on Manhattan, visit http://www.villageofmanhattan.org/.