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Heron Pond Little Black Slough

Nature Preserve Area




Location And Access

From Vienna at jct. Hwys. 45 & 146, take Hwy. 45 south 5 miles to Belknap Road, then go west 1.5 miles to gravel road, then turn and go north 0.5 mile Special Note: The preserve is located within Little Black Slough, the largest state-owned natural area. Trails and a parking lot are available.


The area has extensive stands of high quality upland forest and limestone glade communities representative of the Lesser Shawnee Hills Section of the Shawnee Hills Natural Division and high quality swamp and floodplain forests typical of the Bottomland Section of the Coastal Plain Natural Division. The 1,861 acres are divided into three units: Heron Pond-Wildcat Bluff, Goose Pond, and Boss Island-Boulder Slope Woods. Special features of the area include a portion of the Cache River floodplain bounded by steep bluffs on the north and by lower sandstone bluffs on the east and west. The swamps are dominated by water tupelo and bald cypress, some of which are among the oldest trees in Illinois. There is critical habitat for Illinois threatened and endangered species and federally endangered species, a heron rookery and the presence of many other plant and animal species limited to the Coastal Plain Division. This preserve is a good place to see black vulture, red-shouldered hawk, barred owl, Acadian flycatcher, parula warbler, yellow-throated warbler and Kentucky warbler. Bobcat, river otter and swamp rabbit also occur in this preserve.


Illinois Department of Natural Resources


September 1971


1,861 acres with an additional 78 acres of buffer

Topographic Quad


Topo Map


For Further Information

Site Superintendent or Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Biologist, Ferne Clyffe State Park, P.O. Box 67, Goreville, IL 62939 (618/995-2568)