Dayton Bluffs Preserve
Dayton Bluffs Preserve

Dayton Bluffs is part of
Starved Rock Country,
Ottawa Visitor’s Center,
and is supported by
Heritage Harbor Resort.  

Explore this beautiful area
just a short drive from the suburbs.

It’s a have-to-be-there-to-feel-it kind of place.
The thrill of true wilderness. The comfort of age, unhurried growth, deep roots.
The mystery of what you will find at the leafy bottom of the next ravine.
A place where the voices of Native Americans who walked this land long before you blend with the voices of today and tomorrow in a chorus of awe and admiration.

Donate Now to Restore Dayton Bluffs

At a July 31, 2013 closing, The Conservation Foundation became the owner of Dayton Bluffs, an ecological and archaeological wonderland.  A partnership of The Conservation Foundation and the City of Ottawa has created the Dayton Bluffs Preserve, a 253-acre  natural area preserve along the Fox River established for the citizens of Ottawa, La Salle County and all of Illinois. The Dayton Bluffs Preserve was purchased by The Conservation Foundation for $2.1 million and will be leased to the City of Ottawa who will manage it as a public preserve.
 “The City of Ottawa is very grateful to The Conservation Foundation for acquiring the property and seeking our partnership so our citizens can enjoy this new preserve,” said Ottawa Mayor Bob Eschbach. “This is a fine amenity to our community and helps forward our long-term plan of establishing a greenway and bike path along the Fox River.” 

The Conservation Foundation owns the land and is responsible for its initial restoration and long-term ecological management. The City of Ottawa is responsible for daily access, security and general maintenance. A Dayton Bluffs Preserve Grand Opening is projected for Spring of 2017.
Click here for a summary of this preservation project.

Click here to see the First Year Progress Report.

Click here to see the Second Year Progress Report.
But preservation is not enough for lands as special as this.
Efforts are currently underway to raise funds for the longterm ecological restoration of Dayton Bluffs.  We are holding volunteer restoration work days at the new Dayton Bluffs Preserve from 8am to Noon on the second Saturday of each month.

Eventually, there will be a small parking area for public access, biking and hiking trails, and perhaps even a small picnic area or two. Overall, the intent of the property is to keep it natural. Organized hikes led by naturalists will also be offered along with volunteer opportunities to help maintain the ecological integrity of the site.
Funding to The Conservation Foundation for the property’s $2.1 million acquisition was provided by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, Grand Victoria Foundation and the Hamill Family Foundation.

For more information and to pursue your land preservation options, please contact our Director of Land Protection, Dan Lobbes.  Click here to email him or call 630-428-4500, Ext. 201.


Read all about our recent restoration mega-workday at Dayton Bluffs, courtesy of Fairmount Santrol.