Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
Visit our country's first National Tallgrass Prairie.
The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie was established in 1996 and is the first National Tallgrass Prairie in the country.
The Midewin is administered by the U.S. Forest Service, in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and with the support of hundreds of volunteers and partner agencies, businesses, and organizations.
The Illinois Land Conservation Act (Public Law 104-106) created the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, and designated the transfer of 19,165 acres of land in Illinois from the U.S. Army to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and mandates that the Midewin be managed to meet four primary objectives:
Part of the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant, Midewin remained largely closed to the public while the Army cleaned up contamination remaining from decades of TNT manufacturing and packaging.
Beginning in 2004, 6,400 acres of Midewin opened to the general public for nonmotorized recreation use.
Midewin is open every day, from an hour before sunrise until an hour after sunset. A few trails are open to visitors
Midewin staff, volunteers, and guest leaders offer a variety of interpretive tours and exploration activities. Some tours are escorted in caravans with viewing stops and radio commentary, some feature outdoor activities, and some are especially designed by and for history buffs.
There are currently no overnight camping facilities at Midewin. Nearby public campgrounds are available at the Kankakee River State Park and Des Plaines Fish & Wildlife Area.
Hunting at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is available on all lands open to the public. The Midewin Special Hunt Area Rules ensure a successful recreational experience for all.