As the largest open space in the Chicago region, the 19,000-acre Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is the first such protected tallgrass prairie in the country and it is managed today by the U.S. Forest Service. Midewin sits next door to Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area, and offers an expansive 22-mile land trail system.
Its expansiveness makes it an ideal habitat for grassland birds. In addition to native prairie, it contains a variety of ecologically significant habitats and natural areas. In 2014 it became a new home for a herd of American bison.
Openlands advocated for the creation of Midewin more than 20 years ago, and we have continued to assist in ongoing restoration since its establishment in 1996. Learn more about the recreation opportunities at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.