Natural Areas: Bicentennial Woods
State Designated Nature Preserve [#147; 1995]
Woods. Click to enlarge
ACRES Land Trust acquired Bicentennial Woods in 1994, the 200th anniversary of nearby Fort Wayne. The preserve comprises about 80 acres of varied habitat; there are many large trees, particularly oaks and sycamores. Some of the former are more than 250 years old, and Bloom (2010) states that the property contains what may be “…the last stand of virgin timber in the county”.
The trail network is elaborate but well maintained, and rightly popular with runners and families. Willow Creek runs through the property, heading toward its nearby confluence with Cedar Creek. Willow Creek divides both the preserve and the trail system into two parts. Woods fill the area north and west of Willow Creek; the trails here form a very rough figure eight, with some minor branching. This area is home to the Arnold Oaks, named for previous owners of the woods, and perhaps the oldest trees in the preserve.
Willow Creek. Click to enlarge
A footbridge spans Willow Creek near the eastern boundary of the preserve. From here, a series of interconnected loop trails explore the southern half of the property. One trail shadows the creek toward the southwest, with another parallel path atop the adjacent bluff. Others explore new woods to the east or skirt a large wetland in the south-central portion of the preserve. The Cathedral Oaks, nearly two hundred years old, are south of the creek, in the eastern half of the preserve. There are hickories, beech, sycamore, and maple, and many wildflowers in spring, with Solomon’s plume, spring beauty, bloodroot, and cardinal flower well represented, among many others.
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Allen County. From I-69 Exit 312, go north 7.8 miles on Coldwater Road/IN 327, then left ¼ mile on Shoaff to a parking area on the left.
GPS: N 41 15.032 W 85 08.372
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Nearby Natural Areas (miles)
Dustin Nature Preserve (1.2)
Vandolah Nature Preserve (3.7)
Covell Nature Preserve (8)
Mengerson Nature Preserve (13.3)
Spring Lake Woods and Bog Nature Preserve (14.4)
McNabb-Walter Nature Preserve (16)
Lonidaw Nature Preserve (17.4)
Crooked Lake Nature Preserve (19.9)