Working hand–in–hand with the Nature Conservancy staff, a dynamic community of volunteer stewards collect and plant seeds, manage invasive species, repair wetlands, and conduct controlled burns in order to preserve, protect, and share this precious endangered ecosystem. In October 2014, the Nachusa Grasslands were reintroduced to an old friend - the American bison. The Nature Conservancy, which operates the Grasslands, brought 30 bison to the preserve and the herd is now over 90 with more calves expected each spring.
The Nachusa Grasslands, a mix of tallgrass prairie, savanna and woodlands, covers 4,000 acres, so there’s plenty of room for hiking, birding and other outdoor activities. The bison herd lives behind fences on 1,500 acres, so you don’t need to worry about too-close bison encounters but those interested in seeing the bison must remember they can be viewed from the public roadsides only. The herd roams across the rolling land and are often not visible from the road. Binoculars are helpful. No hiking is permitted inside the fenced bison unit. The other units of the preserve are open dawn to dusk for hiking.
A Nachusa Visitor Facility is being developed by The Nature Conservancy, which will support self-guided visits of the preserve. It will provide valuable interpretation explaining Nachusa's prairie/woodland/wetland ecosystems and our attempts to protect them, bison information, a short trail, and bathrooms. In addition to a parking lot at the entrance, road "turn offs" around the preserve will accommodate our visitors. Work is scheduled to begin in early 2017 and be completed by the fall.