Source: NM News-Journal, Aug 18,
WILDWOOD AWARDED PROTECTION AS STATE
Wildlife enthusiasts need go to
only one place to see hundreds of species of plants,
birds, an endangered amphibian, and a variety of
habitats, including oak-hickory forests, a pond, tall
grass prairie, and forested swamp.
Wildwood Nature Preserve, a unique
property located seven miles northwest of North
Manchester, was recently awarded extra protection as a
state-designated nature preserve.
Its significance was appreciated by
its former owners, Bob and Alice Frantz, who purchased
the 237 acres in 1960. To protect the land from the
possibility of future development, they sold Wildwood to
ACRES Land Trust in 2002.
The state designation will provide
further protection and additional resources to the
nonprofit organization in the care of Wildwood.
ACRES Executive Director Jason
Kissel said, “The designation as a nature preserve is
the highest level of protection awarded by the state of
Indiana. It’s basically the state saying, “This is the
best of the best undeveloped land we have left in
The public is invited to a
dedication ceremony Saturday, September 12 at 2 p.m.
John Becone, division director, DNR Division of Nature
Preserves, and Kissel will share a few comments.
Following the brief ceremony will be a guided tour and
refreshments for those attending.
The preserve is open daily to the
public from dawn until dusk, and includes 4.8 miles of
trails. It is located in Kosciusko County, with the
entrance on State Road 14 just east of S. County Farm
“The land is unique in that it has
a lot of different types of vegetation and a diversity
of habitats within the area, including wetlands,” Kissel
ACRES Land Trust is currently
conducting a study of the site. Some of the areas were
never developed, and others have been restored from what
was farmland in the 1800s. There are both old and young
growth forests on the preserve.
ACRES Land Trust has 71 properties
in northeast Indiana, southern Michigan, and northwest
Ohio. Of those, 21 are state-designated preserves.
“The reason we like to have the
state designation is because we are a private property
owner. As a state nature preserve, it will be protected
from development through eminent domain and we’ll be
able to enlist additional state resources. The state
makes a good partner in protecting these areas,” Kissel
Development isn’t the only threat
to wildlife habitat. Invasive species are a problem at
many nature preserves. “Invasive species are a
widespread threat in northeast Indiana. At Wildwood, the
biggest problems we have are with Garlic Mustard and
Autumn Olive. We’re keeping a handle on it, but it’s
always a challenge,” he explained.
Autumn Olive can quickly take over
an area and eliminate other species, reducing the
variety and amount of food for wildlife. Garlic mustard
also takes over large areas, and is a threat to spring
wildflowers. It also provides less food for animals.
The benefits of the state
designation include the help of state conservation
officers and technical support in controlling invasive
Wildwood is now one of 229 state nature preserves in