Posted in Hiking, History, Native American, Northwestern Ohio, Park review

Howard Collier State Nature Preserve

Howard Collier is a 115-acre state nature preserve located in Seneca County in northwestern Ohio. The preserve is named after a former state budget director who was instrumental in allocating funds for the acquisition of park land. The Collier preserve features a loop trail with an impressive staircase/boardwalk that leads down into the flood plain. The Sandusky River can be viewed from a couple of short side trails off the loop. There is also one more extensive side trail that leads to a township Read more ➜
Posted in Flowers, Hiking, Northwestern Ohio, Park review

Goll Woods State Nature Preserve

Goll Woods State Nature Preserve is a 321-acre preserve in Fulton County with 5.25 miles of trail. The trail system approaches the Tiffin River in two places, and it also passes by the Goll Cemetery and the preserve office for the Northwest Preserve District. One hundrd acres of the preserve are old growth forest (sometimes referred to as "virgin woods"). Some of the trees in this region are up to 400 years old and have reached a diameter of 4 feet. Among the largest trees are bur oak, white oak, Read more ➜
Posted in Hiking, Northeastern Ohio, Park review

Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve

Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve occupies 646 acres and contains about four miles of trail; it was Ohio's first state nature preserve. It is located in Lake County at Mentor, Ohio which is about forty miles east of Cleveland. The preserve is just southwest of Headlands Beach State Park. If you are just interested in exploring the preserve as a hiker or bird watcher, feel free to skip to the section on Getting Oriented. Hisotry Mentor Marsh becomes a brackish habitat Salt mining Read more ➜
Posted in Northwestern Ohio, Park review

Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve

The full name of this preserve is the Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve. The research center studies the local "estuary," a word that usually refers to the region where fresh-water in a river mixes with the salt-water of an ocean. However in this case it is referring to a region where the fresh-water of a creek mixes with the fresh-water of Lake Erie. The preserve is 572 acres in size, and it features hiking trails, an observation deck, and a handicap-accessible Read more ➜
Posted in Central Ohio, Hiking, History, Park review

Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve

Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve is a remnant of the Darby Plains prairie. While most of Ohio's prairies were converted into farmland, its status as a 19th-century pioneer cemetery meant that the land was never cultivated. Fortunately this has allowed it to preserve the original prairie grasses and wildflowers. The is a one acre preserve is located in Madison County. We visited three prairie remnants west of Columbus on the same day: Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve, Bigelow Cemetery Read more ➜
Posted in Geology, Hiking, Park review, Southeastern Ohio

Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve: Robinson Falls

We recently visited Robinson Falls (aka "Corkscrew Falls") at Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve. The waterfall is located off-trail at the preserve, so we obtained a free permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to visit the falls. Along with the permit, they sent us a map showing the falls, where to park, directions, and preserve rules. The ODNR-provided map directed us to a small pull-off from the road that holds a couple of cars. We located the trail-head across the Read more ➜
Posted in Central Ohio, Flowers, Hiking, History, Native American, Park review

Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve

Last summer we visited two of Ohio's smallest state nature preserves: Bigelow Cemetery and Smith Cemetery. Within these two preserves are remnants of prairie that once extended over 5% of Ohio. Because both sites were 19th century cemeteries, they were undisturbed by the plowing that converted 99% of this rich, prairie soil into Ohio farmland. Today I will discuss the half-acre Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve, and I'll save the nearby Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve for a later post. Read more ➜
Posted in Hiking, Southeastern Ohio

Raven Rock State Nature Preserve

This past Friday we visited Raven Rock State Nature Preserve. It was our first visit to a permit-only preserve. We'd planned a visit to Shawnee Lodge and had applied for a permit more than two weeks before our trip. It was a cool, overcast afternoon when we parked near the trailhead for Raven Rock. There were two parking spots, one of which was already occupied. The trail is 1.25 miles (one way) and ends at a cliff 550 ft above the start with a stunning view of the Ohio River and the hills of Read more ➜
Posted in Central Ohio, Flowers, Hiking, Park review

Milford Center Prairie State Natural Area

Between eight and four thousand years ago what later became Ohio experienced a prolonged drought. This allowed the drought-tolerant plants of the Great Plains to displace Ohio's more typical, water-loving plants. This eastward thrust of the prairie into Ohio has been referred to as a "prairie peninsula." The prairie peninsula encompassed nearly 400 square miles of the Darby Plains in western, central Ohio. Today only 1% of this prairie survives. There are a number of MetroParks in the Columbus and Read more ➜
Posted in Hiking, Park review, Southwestern Ohio

Chaparral Prairie State Nature Preserve

Chaparral Prairie is a 67-acres state nature preserve with a three-quarter mile loop trail. Located in Adams County, it preserves a rare prairie habitat. Prairies are defined by the type of vegetation that grows in them. In general these plants are drought-tolerant, fire-tolerant and shade-intolerant. They originated in America's Great Plains and moved eastward thousands of years ago during a centuries-long drought when this area was warmer than now. However as the climate cooled and normal rain Read more ➜