Recent visit to Bryan Woods Nature Preserve posted in Indiana Outdoors.
Bryan Woods Nature Preserve (Eunice Hamilton Bryan)

This has been a tough week, between illness, work stress, snowstorm, continuing cold, and a two-year-old getting his first case of late-winter cabin fever. Therefore, we were very happy to take advantage of the 60+ degree weather offered on Sunday to head out of town. We traveled north to Clinton County to my in-laws who live across the field from Bryan Woods Nature Preserve.

Bryan Woods Nature Preserve is a small preserve (less than 30 acres) sent in the middle of “vast expanses of corn, soybeans - and in the colder months, bare ground.” (http://goo.gl/KzbOM) The heart of the woods is a boggy section of ground. The two trail loops (“Long” and “Short”) pass on either side of the bog. The DNR factsheet generously describes this as a pond, and it is wet more-or-less year-round (http://goo.gl/2R0F9). As we were there only days after a significant late season snow (5+ inches), most of the woods was quite wet. At times we sank unexpectedly into 4-5 inches of mud hidden beneath the fallen leaves.

We saw few ground animals, but there was a profusion of songbirds glad for the warmth of the day. Our dog also found coyote sign that showed evidence of rabbit or squirrel. We were the only human visitors late Sunday afternoon, but the parking lot register showed that at least two other groups had visited earlier in the day.

I would describe Bryan Woods not as a destination, but as an interesting diversion if you’re passing through the area; I-65 passes only 15 minutes to the south and west. Farms press in on all sides of the woods, and several industrial hog barns sit not far from the parking lot and entrance lane. The woods, however, are an important remnant of a lost ecosystem in an area relatively devoid of public natural spaces.

One last link of note: last January Bryan Woods was featured in the Lafayette Journal and Courier. (http://goo.gl/me7fW) The article is worth a read.
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