Gibson Woods Nature Preserve

Tucked away in the heart of the industrial region of northwest Indiana is an island of nature with some very unusual features. This 131-acre parcel of virtually "undisturbed" land is known as Gibson Woods Nature Preserve . . . a Lake County Park. Gibson Woods is one of the last sizeable remnant of high quality dune and swale topography remaining in the Midwest. Because of the widespread urbanization and industrialization in Northwest Indiana, this type of topography and its associated natural communities have been almost entirely eliminated. The rare environment, surrounded by urban development, was preserved because it was part of railroad property of the Gibson Yards. Self-guided trails allow the public to passively use the nature preserve. The Gibson Woods Environmental Awareness Center, built in 1984 with a grant from the Land and Conservation Fund, houses exhibits that interpret displays such as the 6,000 year old Mastodon bones found right here in Lake County, live reptiles and amphibians, and educational displays. The Outdoor Education staff offers a variety of interpretive tours, programs, and lectures to the public throughout the year. Many local school children visit the preserve as part of their outdoor education curriculum. Interpretive tours include an indoor program and a hike into the dune and swale prairie. Programs are designed to fit the age and need of the school or group. Nature programs like bird and wildflower walks are held throughout the year, while groups like 4-H, and Dunes/Calumet Audubon Society utilize the facility for meetings. Wild Ones Natural Landscapers is directly sponsored by the Lake County Parks Department and acts in a volunteer capacity to assist in seed collection, cleaning, growing, and replanting. Features: barrier free toilet, gift shop, group tours, hiking trails, interpretive staff, environmental awareness center, school group tours, wildlife viewing area.