The 620-acre Messenger Marsh was acquired between 1989 and 2000.
The preserve is part of the Spring Creek preservation system, which conserves more than 2,000 acres.
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Messenger Marsh protects a diversity of habitats, including forest, savanna and a portion of Spring Creek.
Wildlife found at the preserve includes the wood frog, brown snake and 110 bird species.
The preserve is also home to a variety of plant species, including the hairy beardtongue, hispid sunflower, great white lettuce and sunshine rose.
The site is managed with habitat restoration to protect and enhance its natural resources. Learn more about the District’s land management activities.
The preserve is also part of a tree mitigation project funded by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority that has planted more than 10,000 trees and shrubs at the preserve.
Amenities and Activities
Messenger Marsh provides access to a 3.44-mile, crushed limestone segment of the Spring Creek Greenway Trail, ideal for the following activities:
- Horseback Riding (trailer parking available)
- Cross-Country Skiing
The preserve features a 10.25-acre, off-leash dog park, including a 1.25-acre enclosure exclusively for dogs under 35 pounds. A permit is required for dog park use. Learn more about the District’s dog parks, permits and fees.
The preserve offers one picnic shelter for rental, Messenger Marsh Shelter (permit capacity of 100 people). Learn more about picnic permits and fees.
Messenger Marsh offers access to shoreline fishing on a detention pond within the preserve. State and District regulations apply. Learn more about fishing in the forest preserves.
Permits are available for geocaching at this preserve. Learn more about geocaching permits.