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Ohio

Morgan Swamp Preserve

At over 1,400 acres, Morgan Swamp is one of the largest protected wetland communities in Ohio.


 At more than 1,400 acres, The Nature Conservancy’s Morgan Swamp Preserve is one of the largest privately protected forested wetlands in Ohio. The swamp is home to an abundance of wetlands including swamps, bogs, beaver ponds and vernal pools. A rich diversity of plants and animals call it home, from the beautiful white calla lily to the tiny four-toed salamander hidden among the vernal pools. 

Morgan Swamp Preserve is part of a greater wetland system called the Grand River Lowlands, which got its start some 12,000 years ago when portions of northeastern Ohio’s Ashtabula and Trumball counties were occupied by a large glacial lake.  This glacial lake deposited a thick layer of silt and clay ranging in depth from 5 to 50 feet.  Watertight, these clay soils resulted in the formation of the swamp forest, marsh, sphagnum bogs and sedge meadows that exist in the area today.   

These wetlands are critical to the health of the state-designated “Wild and Scenic” Grand River, an important tributary to Lake Erie, which is a source of drinking water for millions of people

Current Conservation Work

Morgan Swamp and the surrounding area is a 2,000-acre remnant of a five-square-mile swamp that existed at the time of European settlement. By the beginning of 20th century, the entire region had been subjected to logging, draining, peat fires and farming. Relatively undisturbed for nearly 100 years, Morgan Swamp is recovering from these impacts and is now dynamic and self-sustaining.

Today, the greatest threats to Morgan Swamp Preserve are the destruction of adjacent wetlands, logging within the Grand River floodplain and upland forest communities, and invasive species

The Conservancy has been working to combat these threats through restoration, land acquisition and education efforts. 

In 2011, a generous donation from the Cleveland-based City Mission expands the preserve by nearly 60 acres and increases protection efforts along the Grand River.

  • In 2009, the Conservancy expanded Morgan Swamp Preserve by more than 250 acres, including a 70-acre conservation easement.
  •  In 2006, the Conservancy opened Morgan Swamp Preserve to the public. The preserve features a handicapped accessible trail and interpretive signage showcasing the importance of the ecosystem to both people and wildlife.  
  • Land acquisition focuses on protecting those areas critical in maintaining ecosystem function.
  • The Conservancy has for years sustained the unique nature of the plant and animal communities at Morgan Swamp through invasive species control.
     

 

Photos

Morgan Swamp Slideshow

View a slideshow of one of the Conservancy's most popular preserves in Ohio.

Video

New Acquisition at Morgan Swamp Preserve

Terry Seidel, director of protection, explains how the new acquisition at Morgan Swamp Preserve helps to conserve the Grand River for all Ohioans.

NOTICE: Trails will be closed during deer gun hunting season, taking place on the following days: 10/11-10/12, 11/22-11/23, 12/1-12/7 and 1/2-1/5. We ask that you please use caution when visiting the preserve during deer archery hunting season, 9/27-2/1.

The preserve harbors an array of rare species, many of which are associated with boreal habitats and are near the southern edge of their ranges in North America. A faunal survey of the preserve has revealed 108 bird species, 24 fishes, 26 reptiles, and 24 mammals—including the river otter.

Two separate portions of the property are accessible for public use – Morgan Swamp and Grand River Conservation Campus. Both sections of the property offer opportunities for hiking and wildlife-watching. Morgan Swamp South also offers a playground and access to paddling/fishing. 

Visitors to Morgan Swamp Preserve can explore nearly 2.5 miles of walking trails:

Morgan Swamp trail
Length: 1.25 miles (.25 miles wheelchair accessible trail from parking lot to observation deck, 1 mile primitive trail extension to and from observation deck)
Difficulty: Wheelchair accessible trail to observation deck – Easy. Primitive trail extension – Moderate.

Grand River Conservation Campus trails
Length: 1.2 miles (.3-mile Black Field Loop, .6-mile Field Trail, .3-mile River Trail)
Difficulty: Moderate

Morgan Swamp and the Grand River Conservation Campus are open seven days a week, from dawn to dusk. 

Directions

Morgan Swamp
From the north:

  • From Interstate 90, travel south on State Route 534 for about 7 miles to its junction with State Route 166/Footville-Richmond Rd.
  • Travel east on Footville-Richmond Rd. for 3.4 miles to the Morgan Swamp parking lot. 

 From the south:

  • From U.S. Route 6, take State Route 45 north for about 3.2 miles to Footville-Richmond Rd.
  • Travel west on Footville-Richmond for about 1.6 miles to the Morgan Swamp parking lot 

Grand River Conservation Campus
From the north:

  • From Interstate 90, travel south on State Route 534 for about 7 miles to its junction with State Route 166/Footville-Richmond Road
  • Travel east on Footville-Richmond Road for 2 miles to Windsor-Mechanicsville Road.
  • Travel 1.8 miles south on Windsor-Mechanicsvile Road to Callender Road.
  • Travel 1 mile east on Callender Road to 3973 Callender Road.
  • Driveway on north side of road before (to the west of) bridge

From the south:

  • From U.S. Route 6, take State Route 45 north for about 2 miles to Callender Road
  • Travel west on Callender Road for about 1.5 miles to the 3973 Callender Road
  •  Driveway on north side of road before (to the west of) bridge
Discussion

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Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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