Arrowhead Marsh (97 acres) and Arrowhead Prairie (158 acres), located across from each other on Aboite Road near Fort Wayne, Indiana, together comprise 255 acres of wetland, prairie, and woods. Arrowhead Marsh and 91 acres of Arrowhead Prairie were acquired and restored to natural habitats between 2000 and 2006. An additional 67 acres added to Arrowhead Prairie in 2009 have been restored except for the old homestead area, where a native plant garden has been created.
Ongoing stewardship care, including the use of prescribed burns, is needed to protect the new native vegetation at both properties now and in the future. Fires set by lightning or Native Americans were part of the life cycle of plants in the Little River watershed before the wetlands were drained for farmland in the late 1800s. Native plants have longer roots and a tendency to start growing later in the spring than invasive plant species do. These characteristics help them survive fires early in the growing season, while invasive plant species will usually be destroyed.
Arrowhead Marsh's almost two miles of nature trails wind through marsh, native tallgrass prairie and mature woods. Wander here in spring, summer and fall to see beautiful wildflowers, grassland birds, a profusion of ducks and other water birds, and wild creatures such as fox, mink and deer. In winter, stop to observe animal tracks and the wildlife that made them. (Note: After periods of rain or during spring snowmelt, the Arrowhead Marsh trail or parking area may be too wet to use.)
Arrowhead Prairie consists of 158 acres restored to prairie and wetland except for an area of old farm buildings and a demonstration garden featuring native grasses, sedges and wildflowers found elsewhere in the Arrowhead preserves. Visitors can park near the buildings and start out from the garden area to hike two miles of trails through the preserve. Arrowhead Prairie is also a haven for birds, butterflies, and other prairie creatures. Over 98% of Indiana's original grasslands have been destroyed, making preserves such as this one all the more vital for wildlife that need such habitats, especially ground-nesting birds, almost all of which are in serious decline.