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Rare St. Joseph County bog to be rescued by land trust

A bog on the west side of town, right off of U.S. 20, is one of the rarest pieces of land in St. Joseph County. // WSBT 22 Photo

If you live in South Bend you've probably driven past it. It's hidden in plain sight.

A bog on the west side of town, right off of U.S. 20, is one of the rarest pieces of land in St. Joseph County.

Recently an organization made it its mission to preserve this natural habitat. It's called Lydick Bog.

The group Shirley Heinze Land Trust has decided to use its resources to protect it. WSBT 22 took a tour of the bog and got a crash course in why it's so important to our area.

By the looks of it, this is just like any other hiking trail in St. Joseph County, but the 176 acres that is Lydick Bog is anything but common.

"You get things that you wouldn't find anywhere else in other habitats," said Kris Krouse, executive director of Shirley Heinze Land Trust.

A bog is a diverse freshwater wetland.

"A very wet area that supports a unique host of plants and then subsequently animals as well," said Evie Kirkwood, director of St. Joseph County Parks.

Shirley Heinze Land Trust has planted its roots in St. Joseph County by purchasing the land last May. Krouse said their goal is to erase the footprint we've made here.

"You don't see a lot of older growth, like really big trees, because logging is another practice that's pretty common," said Krouse. "In addition to planting trees, we will also remove those invasive plants so that the wildflowers can come back."

Once the bog is completely restored, the natural wildlife will come with it, creating a sanctuary right here in St. Joseph County.

"Finding ways to get people on to the property so they can make personal connections with the land. That's when really I think the magic starts to happen and people know if they go out on a hike, perhaps they feel better or their stress release goes," said Kirkwood.

Kirkwood said eventually this land will sprout a new opportunity to get out and appreciate the world around us.

"I think sometimes we take it for granted. You know, we don't have big mountains and we don't have big redwoods. We don't have deserts, but we do have these beautiful woods and wetland pockets. We have so many places that are great for people to get outdoors," said Kirkwood.

It will take a few years for the bog to be completely restored. This is the first piece of land that the Shirley Heinze Land Trust has purchased in St. Joseph County. Since 1981, its been dedicated to protecting land throughout northwest Indiana.

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