Bender Nature Preserve
Natural Areas: Bender Nature Preserve
State Designated Nature Preserve [#23; 1972]
Trail. Click to enlarge
ACRES acquired this preserve in 1966, so it is among their oldest. A short boardwalk leads from the parking area to a figure eight trail that passes through gently rolling woods and past extensive wetland areas. The trail skirts an area known as The Spreads, a wide portion of the Elkhart River’s South Branch. Still, you may not see any open water as you pass – just low, damp areas. Look for dragonflies and damselflies here in August. The trail segment that runs north-south along the eastern edge of the trail network passes through a small meadow.
The variety of habitats is a recipe for a diverse species mix, and my past visits have not disappointed. The preserve is home to an interesting assortment of wildlife – wood ducks, garter snakes, woodchucks, and plentiful chipmunks. Spring wildflowers include trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, bellflower, and Solomon’s plume, among many others. Nettles and a variety of biting insects dominate in summer, while pawpaw fills in some of the intermediate layer. Oaks and maples are common overhead.
Click to enlarge
Noble County. From the intersection of IN 8 and IN 9 in Albion, go south 0.5 miles on IN 9, then west 2.1 miles on River Road to a lot on the right.
GPS: N 41 22.823 W 85 27.383
Click to enlarge
Nearby Natural Areas (miles)
Chain O'Lakes State Park (6.3)
Merry Lea (7.5)
Crooked Lake Nature Preserve (11.9)
Greider's Woods (12.7)
Dygert Nature Preserve (13)
Spurgeon Woodland Reserve (14.9)
Lonidaw Nature Preserve (16.8)
Olin Lake Nature Preserve (18.8)