About the Natural Land Institute
The Natural Land Institute, an accredited land trust, is a private 501(c)3, non-profit conservation organization based in Rockford, Illinois, which has protected more than 17,300 acres of natural land in Illinois since 1958. The current service area covers twelve counties in northern Illinois. NLI’s mission is to create an enduring legacy of natural land in northern Illinois for people, plants and animals.
Nygren Wetland Preserve
The Carl & Myrna Nygren Wetland Preserve is a 721-acre wildlife sanctuary, owned by the Natural Land Institute (NLI). There are upland sand prairies, lowland prairies, wetlands, bottomland forest, oxbow lakes and ponds in the preserve. Raccoon Creek runs through the Nygren Wetland and the Rock and Pecatonica Rivers flow along the border of the southeast corner. NLI hosts weekly Wednesday volunteer stewardship days and public events throughout the year at this preserve. Check our website calendar for volunteer days.
Open Daily to the Public
Nygren Wetland Preserve is open daily for hiking, birding, and photography, from sunrise to sunset. In the winter it’s a popular spot to snowshoe and ski. Enter at the Wildlife Overlook and Dianne Nora Nature Trail trailhead, 3714 W. Rockton Rd., Rockton, Ill. There is a parking lot with handicap accessibility to the Overlook. Nygren Wetland is a pet free preserve. No restrooms or picnic tables.
Learn More about Nygren Wetland Preserve
The Dianne Nora Nature Trail is a free 2.5 mile hiking trail around the wetland. Visit in person or virtually: the Nora Trail is part of the Prairie State Hike app (99¢ in the Apple or Android Store). Dozens of other trails throughout the State of Illinois are also included in this app.
Click here for the trail map.