Hikers Tour Rare Gravel Hill Prairie on Private Barrington Hills Property

Photo by Jim Bodkin

L.L. Bean and The Barrington Area Conservation Trust (BACT) recently sponsored a weekend winter hike, offering area residents and families a close-up look at a gravel hill prairie, right in Barrington’s back yard.

Gravel hill prairies are island-like patches of prairie vegetation occurring on otherwise wooded steep slopes that face south or southwest. This type of hill prairie is very rare, with only a handful in existence in Illinois and one being right in the Barrington area. The gravel hill prairie in Barrington Hills is on private property and was generously opened for families to enjoy.

About 30 hikers met at St. Mark’s Church in Barrington at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 21 to participate in a two-hour hike through the picturesque prairie. BACT members and L.L. Bean staff took turns explaining the science behind the gravel hill, the benefits of being outdoors and the appropriate clothing to wear for outdoor activities. The group also observed animal tracks and the unique prairie hill soil and flora. On the way back to the meeting place, hikers pitched in to pick up and bag any trash they found along the way, leaving the landscape even more beautiful than they found it. BACT thanks L.L. Bean and its staff for participating in and promoting its Winter Walk.

Photos by Jim Bodkin

The Barrington Area Conservation Trust’s mission is to preserve our community’s rare and exceptional open spaces for current and future generations. With conservation easements, land acquisitions, donations and Heritage Corridor easements, the BACT preserves open land and the area’s scenic roads. Since 2001, the Barrington Area Conservation Trust has protected nearly 500 acres in Barrington and has more than 300 members, volunteers, high school teens and community organizations engaged in its work. Visit bactrust.org for more information about the organization plus volunteer events, such as Restoration Workdays, held the first and third Sunday of the month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Newcomers are welcome!

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