Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Since the early 1990s, Openlands has worked to establish, restore, and protect the Chicago region’s largest conserved open space, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Will County, Illinois.

Following several years of advocacy by Openlands and a coalition of 23 partners, President Clinton established Midewin in 1996 as the nation’s first national tallgrass prairie. Now stretching across more than 19,000 acres, Midewin is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and with the support of a broad coalition, we are together working to expand public programming, restore globally-rare landscapes and habitat, and ensure that this spectacular natural treasure is permanently protected for future generations.

Midewin is today considered one of the most important conservation initiatives in Illinois of the 20th century and a model process for conversion of surplus federal property to public open space. It is home to a herd of American bison and countless species of wildlife, and it is space of the national mosaic of your public lands.

We encourage you to visit the prairie and you can start planning your visit to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.

Trails at Midewin

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is a haven for outdoor recreation, offering an extensive trail system for a multitude of recreation opportunities such as hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing.

From Bunkers to Bison

Today, Midewin is considered a model process for conversion of surplus federal property to public open space, and that reputation is accented by the multi-faceted restoration projects such as the reintroduction of a herd of American bison.

Protecting the Prairie

Drawing on our decades of expertise in advocacy and planning, we continue to lead dialogue with industry, local farmers, and government officials as to how our economic growth and industry in the Midewin area can support agriculture and coexist with our globally significant natural resources.