Prior to European settlement, this land supported a tallgrass prairie dotted with a few small wetlands. Restoration of that prairie has been underway since the 1980s. Though the land has been drastically altered, first by farming and later during reservoir construction, a surprising diversity of grassland birds uses the preserve, including bobolinks and eastern meadowlarks. Much of this preserve is managed for flood control, as evinced by a dam on Buffalo Creek and the reservoir that results. Careful and creative design of the reservoir has created a natural-looking wetland.
Four miles of crushed-gravel trails are open to hikers, bicyclists and cross-country skiers. Please keep dogs leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them. The trails run through open areas within the preserve, crossing several creeks, skirting the reservoir and traversing restored prairie. Pedestrian and bicycle access is available at the corner of Checker Road and Arlington Heights Road, on Checker Road west of Schaeffer Road, and at the corner of Lake Cook and Arlington Heights Roads.