The 197-acre Fullerton Park Forest Preserve in Addison is a patchwork of prairie, woods and wetlands that plays a valuable role in stormwater management. It also has the Forest Preserve District's only designated area for model-craft helicopters; drones can also be flown at the model-craft field.
Fullerton Park contains several regionally rare plants such as indigo bush, short green milkweed, gentians and wild rice. Because of its diverse habitats, the forest preserve also hosts a variety of grassland and marshland birds, including black-crowned night herons, ospreys, Wilson’s snipes, American woodcocks and other state and regionally rare species. Ecologists have recorded northern leopard frogs, beavers, red foxes, coyotes, water snakes, midland painted turtles and garter snakes at Fullerton Park and more than 100 different kinds of invertebrates, including beetles, butterflies, crayfish, freshwater mussels, dragonflies and damselflies.
The entrance to Fullerton Park is on Grace Street, one block south of Fullerton Avenue and north of North Avenue (Route 64).
The portable latrine at Fullerton Park is unavailable Dec. 1, 2017 ‒ Feb. 28, 2018.
If you enjoy flying model helicopters or drones, you can do so in the designated area west of Grace Street but you must have avalid Forest Preserve District permitin your possession. Picnic tables are located near the field.
In presettlement times, the preserve contained sedge meadows, marshes and a flatwood swamp in its low-lying areas. Mesic and dry prairie flourished on the ridges and slopes of the site. Water from the marshes flowed north, under what is now Fullerton Road and into a slough. The slough then emptied into Westwood Creek, a tributary of Salt Creek.
Settlers moved into the area that’s now the preserve in the 1850s and these families farmed the land for nearly 100 years.
The Canadian National railroad was built in the 1870s, bisecting what is now the preserve.
In the 1950s, due to the threat of the Cold War, a NIKE underground missile site was built adjacent to the railroad tracks. The buildings and missiles were removed in the early 1980s.
Much of the preserve was purchased in the 1970s with additional parcels added in the 2000s, including important wetland areas to the south of the railroad tracks.