Harris Slough

Along with its rich Native American History, Casper Bluff has a strong connection to the industrial age. At the lookout, onlookers can see the channel, known as Harris Slough, used by steamboats traveling to Galena in the late 1800s.

The river, sloughs and islands making up this view are a part of the 24,000 acre Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service.

The Land

The site, which recently gained 20 acres, now provides visitors with 100 acres of a diverse landscape of dense woodland trees and open flowing prairie. The newest contribution of land allows for more archeological investigations to determine the presence and extent of Native Americans’ use of the property.

If you look closely, you will see that each prairie is a different height. This is because each prairie was planted at a different time, as a result of the prairie restoration process and management done by the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (JDCF) and the Northern Illinois Prairie Enthusiasts.

Fun for Everyone

JDCF offers many educational programs for all ages, engaging visitors in the history, geology, wildlife and conservation of their properties.

In summer, they partner with the Galena Art and Recreation to offer hands-on learning through a week-long summer camp, entitled Camp Casper Nature Camp for Kids. Other events include partnerships with the Field Museum of Chicago, staff led hikes, meteor shower viewing and presentations.

Check out the calendar of events below.

About JDCF & other properties

JDCF is a land trust dedicated to preserving land for the lasting well-being of people and wildlife. They do so by protecting land, educating community members on land stewardship and conservation and supporting recreation that is aimed with an appreciation towards nature.

For more information on their organization and properties, visit jdcf.org.