At 1,300 acres, The Nature Conservancy’s Morgan Swamp Preserve located in Northeast Ohio’s Ashtabula County is one of the largest privately protected wetlands in Ohio.
The preserve’s forests and wetlands help to nourish and protect the Grand River—a major tributary to Lake Erie and a state-designated “Wild and Scenic River.”
Conservationists know the Grand River areas as a rare swath of “north woods” in the Midwest.
The cooler climate is perfect for rare animals like the snowshoe hare, which is normally found farther north.
A faunal survey of the preserve has revealed 108 bird species, 24 fishes, 26 reptiles, and 24 mammals –including the river otter, which was extirpated from Ohio by the early 1900s, but successfully reintroduced in the 1980s.
The dynamic ecosystem found at Morgan Swamp is maintained in part by beaver, which gnaw down trees (above) to build dams.
Humans, too, play a role in maintaining the ecosystem. The Nature Conservancy’s team of volunteers works regularly at Morgan Swamp to manage invasive species such as cattails.
Morgan Swamp has expanded recently, with a 250-acre purchase in 2009 and a 60-acre donation in 2011 from the Cleveland-based City Mission, which at one time operated a camp on the property (seen above).
Complete with a trail and informational signage, Morgan Swamp Preserve is open year-round. Plan your trip today!