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The largest Metropark is a small part of an important natural region.
Located between Whitehouse and Swanton, Oak Openings Preserve takes its name from the surrounding region, which is 23 times larger than the park itself. That’s something to consider when you realize that Oak Openings Preserve is about 5,000 acres.
Majesty in its natural habitat.
Pioneers trudging through a dense swamp called this area “Oak Openings.” Most of the park is an oak savanna ecosystem, characterized by alternating wetlands and vegetated dunes. The Nature Conservancy once named the sandy region one of the 200 “Last Great Places on Earth.”
Prickly-pear cactus, wild lupine and sand cherry bloom atop dry, hot sand dunes just yards away from orchids growing in low, wet swales. There are more than 50 miles of trails in Oak Openings Preserve. Stands of isolated pine and spruce planted by the WPA during the Great Depression are still visible.
Oak Openings is a birder's paradise. It is the nesting place of bluebirds, indigo buntings, whippoorwills, Lark sparrows and many other species, as well as an excellent location to see migrating songbirds in the spring.
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