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Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Herrick Fen Preserve features unique geologic, hydrologic, biologic and physical features that resulted from the retreat of glaciers during the last ice age, some 12,000-14,000 years ago.
The preserve hosts two special fen communities, owing their presence to an impermeable silt and clay layer covered with glacial gravel that allows for the rise of cold, calcium and magnesium rich springs. The tamarack fen is the only native conifer in Ohio that sheds its needles each year, and the preserve boasts one of the few reproducing populations of it in the state. The cinquefoil-sedge fen contains an extensive population of bayberry, a state endangered plant found in only three locations in Ohio.
All told, the preserve provides habitat for over two dozen state-listed species.
The initial preserve tract was purchased by Dr. J. Arthur Herrick in 1969 and now comprises some 140 acres. It is jointly owned by The Nature Conservancy and Kent State University, and managed by the Conservancy as a dedicated state nature preserve.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Threats to the preserve include urban encroachment, siltation, and invasive non-native plant species such as buckthorn, cattail and reed canarygrass. Extensive and prolonged fluctuations in the lake level can negatively impact the fen community, especially the tamaracks which are sensitive to high water levels caused by beaver activity in the preserve.
The ecological goal for this preserve is to restore or maintain the biodiversity of the tamarack fen and cinquefoil-sedge fens through aggressive invasive species control and management of the lake’s water level.
Why You Should Visit
The preserve features an easy, 1-mile trail to and from the parking lot (with 700 ft of wheelchair-accessible boardwalk).
Visitors will enjoy the preserve’s boardwalk, which showcases some of the preserve’s most distinct features, such as seeps and fen plants—including Bayberry and the round-leaved sundew, a tiny carnivorous plant that inconspicuously grows on sphagnum moss.
In order to protect the sensitive species, and for your safety, please stay on the boardwalk and nature trails.
What to See: Plants
Visitors should keep their eyes open for the more than two dozen state-listed species the preserve protects. Among them are:
Open year-round, dawn to dusk
The boardwalk, among other things, at Herrick Fen has been renovated, allowing for better public access. In order to protect the sensitive species, and for your safety, please stay on the boardwalk and nature trails. The boardwalk is an excellent place to launch a winter wander.