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So You’re Starved for Nature

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
Photo: Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune

Darien —Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve is the kind of place where, on a snowy Saturday morning, you could find yourself face to face with a coyote. The one I met looked, in its bushy winter coat, as big as a timber wolf. He had found a perfect home in these 2,500 acres teeming with more than 700 native plant species and 300 types of animals: salamanders by vernal pools, hawks perched watchfully in the abundant oak trees. On most weekends, you’ll find a river of cyclists, joggers, and horseback riders flowing along the 10-mile trail, which loops through the woods and alongside an expansive grassland where the coyote eventually disappeared. The only natural waterfall in DuPage County (pictured) tumbles a little southwest of Argonne National Laboratory — though the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County won’t reveal exactly where, fearing that curious hikers will inadvertently damage it. Then there’s the well-known manmade falls. But the park isn’t named for either. The real inspiration is a past president of the forest preserve district: Seymour “Bud” Waterfall, whose name comes this close to parody before being rescued by a lovely vision of nature.

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