Wildwood Nature Preserve has an interesting history. McPherson (1996) reports that the previous owners of the original 88 acres treated the property as a private nature preserve and welcomed visitors to enjoy the trails. ACRES Land Trust acquired the land, now nearly 240 acres, in 2002 and the former owners’ residence is now occupied by a caretaker. Several footpaths radiate from the parking area next to the caretaker’s house, connecting to a trail system that is large and elaborate, even by ACRES standards.
Spring wildflowers are impressive in the woods, with many species present, including large-flowered trillium and white trout lily. There is a large pond and numerous smaller wetlands. During the warmer months, it should be just about impossible to avoid seeing turtles, frogs, birds, or even a snake, like the garter snake shown above.
My own preference tends toward the wetland areas, at least insofar as water levels and trail flooding permit, but most of the property is interesting in one way or another. If pressed I’d save the loop surrounding newly planted trees for last, though it will doubtless become more appealing as the trees grow.
Directions: Kosciusko County. From the intersection of IN 14 and IN 15, go east 3.4 miles on IN 14 to the signed entrance; then turn right down a gravel lane to a parking area near the caretaker’s house.
GPS: N 41 04.356 W 85 49.633