Our Mission

To increase awareness and appreciation for our connections to the earth and to each other through educational and social experiences in a healthy ecosystem.

How does Lincoln Marsh benefit the community?


Thousands of people visit Lincoln Marsh Natural Area each year to hike, picnic, and enjoy the outdoors. Nature enthusiasts find great bird-watching opportunities. Lincoln Marsh is an ideal place to jog, bike, or cross-country ski because the trails connect with the Illinois Prairie Path.


The Lincoln Marsh offers a wide variety of programming opportunities to over 13,000 participants every year. We provide Nature and Adventure Programs to schools, groups, scouts, individuals, and families. Our Challenge Course includes team building, high ropes, a climbing tower, and more.

Flood Control

The marsh stores stormwater during heavy rains and floods. It would cost more than $10 million to construct the stormwater retention facilities that the marsh provides naturally.

Water Quality Improvement

The marsh improves the surface and groundwater quality for surrounding communities. Wetland plants, soil, and hydrology cleanse silt and chemical pollutants from the water.

Wildlife Habitat

Although it’s called Lincoln Marsh, the park features several habitats: wetlands, wet-mesic grasslands, mesic prairies, successional woodlands, and mature oak-hickory woodlands. This array of habitats helps to support a diversity of over 300 plant and animal species. Just a few are listed below.


Oak & Black Cherry Trees
Big Bluestem
Trout Lily & Trillium


Red Fox & Coyote
White-tailed Deer
Mink & Muskrats
Painted Turtles
Chorus Frogs & Bullfrogs
American Toads


Red-winged Blackbirds
Downy & Hairy Woodpeckers
Red-tailed Hawks
Great Horned & Screech Owls
Wood Ducks
Great Blue Heron

What is the history of Lincoln Marsh?

A Timeline Summary

Based on an archaeological survey performed in 1987 it was determined that the Lincoln Marsh area was a hunting ground during the Late Woodland Period with likely the same topography as today.

Mid to late 1800s: The land is owned and subdivided by Elias Jewell & Erastus Gary.

1943: The land is purchased by Mr. Rogers and reported as farmland. It was most likely used for agricultural crops and pastureland.

1950s: The land is subdivided into multiple parcels.

1973: A group of concerned citizens fought to preserve the open space.

1979: The Wheaton Park District and several other local and state agencies began purchasing the more than 100 parcels that form the core of the park. Funding for land purchases was provided by the Wheaton Park District, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, DuPage County Department of Transportation, City of Wheaton, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Department of the Interior, with the assistance of the Conservation Foundation.

Late 1980s: The first manager literally cleaned up the marsh, removed cars, started ecological restoration, and built boardwalks.

1992: Lincoln Marsh land acquisition was completed to form the core 130 acres. The grand opening on May 9th was presented by The Partners for Lincoln Marsh, a community group dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the natural area.

Today: The park has grown to 150 acres and land acquisition continues around the perimeter to enhance existing open space, reduce potential flood damages, and enhance flood control. Staff and volunteers actively work towards restoring the wetland, woodland, and prairie ecosystems that make up Lincoln Marsh.