Ferns surround a small bog at Morgan Swamp Preserve.
Bog at Morgan Swamp The Rich tract contains bog habitat with rare plant species. © Terry Seidel/TNC

Stories in Ohio

Protecting Places Crucial for Nature in Ohio

Ohio’s natural areas are as bountiful as they are beautiful. Discover how we're safeguarding biodiversity through land protection across the state.

Ohio's Land Protection Efforts Prioritize Biodiversity

Climate change and loss of biodiversity threaten the future of people and nature worldwide. The Nature Conservancy is addressing these interconnected issues by conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. As part of our 2030 goals, we are working to protect 30% of land and water to help stop irreversible biodiversity loss this decade. This includes conserving 1.6 billion acres of land, 620,000 miles of river and 74 million acres of lakes and wetlands globally.

Here in Ohio, we’re doing our part by conserving valuable habitats that will help us achieve our climate and biodiversity goals. By protecting and restoring habitats like wetlands, streams, rivers, lakes and forests, TNC is helping to reconnect fragmented habitats for plants and wildlife while ensuring the resiliency of these systems to support people and nature in a changing climate.

Here Are Some of the Natural Areas We've Recently Protected

Coyle Tract

Acquired in December 2023

Rocky shoreline of Portage River.
Agricultural field with trees in distance.
Tall grasses in field with trees in distance.
Wet agricultural fields with trees in distance.

In December 2023, TNC closed on the 48-acre Coyle tract located along the Portage river in Ottawa county, using H2Ohio funds. The property includes about a quarter mile of the shoreline of the Portage River, a naturally drowned river mouth influenced by the waters of Lake Erie. The Natural Infrastructure team will work to restore the wet agricultural fields back into Lake Erie coastal wetland habitats. Once restored, the land will be donated to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for inclusion into the adjacent Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.

Petrovich Property

Acquired in August 2023

Rocks jut out of forested landscape in southern Ohio.
A small Allegheny woodrat nibbles on some food in a rocky landscape.
Twin leaf plant and delphinium surround large mossy rock in forest.
A stand of yellow buckeye trees in southern Ohio forest.

This small but mighty tract of land at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve (EOA) will help protect the state endangered Allegheny woodrat. At just over 3 acres it is not the largest property TNC has protected, but its location is critical to protecting woodrat habitat, which is limited in Ohio to a small area in and around the EOA preserve. Related to the more famous pack rats of the western U.S., the woodrat, which looks more like a large mouse than a rat, has a penchant for collecting objects. Funding for this acquisition was made possible by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.

Fuzzy Five Tract

Acquired August 2023

A large rock juts out of the forest floors.
Rocky stream flows through lush green forest.
Leaves in the foreground partially block view of Ohio River in the distance.
Purple flowers bloom amidst long green leaves extending out of forest floor.

Located on a high bluff overlooking the Ohio River and the hills of Kentucky, the Fuzzy Five tract is 250 acres of Appalachian hardwood forest adjacent to Shawnee State Forest. The acquisition is part of TNC's effort to conserve one of Ohio’s most resilient forested landscapes, which is anchored by the 65,0000-acre Shawnee State Forest and the 21,000 acre Edge of Appalachia Preserve.

Wayne Moore and Portman Tracts

Acquired Spring 2023

Deep purple dwarf larkspur blooms speckle the forest floor.
A Peebles dolomite rock outcropping extends into the forest at Edge of Appalachia Preserve.
Large tree stands in front of Ohio Brush Creek.
Tulip trees jut out from forest slope.
Three snow trillium flowers bloom on the forest floor.
Large moss-covered boulder sits in forest.
Virginia bluebells bloom in forest.
Large geologic slump blocks rise from the forest floor.
Heron nests dot the trees that line Ohio Brush Creek.
Horsetail plants grow along Ohio Brush Creek.

In spring 2023, TNC acquired two properties that protect Ohio Brush Creek, one of the most resilient watersheds in the eastern U.S. The 35-acre Wayne Moore tract protects a quarter mile of Ohio Brush Creek frontage, which includes part of a great blue heron rookery. The land is wooded with small ephemeral tributaries and an occasional slump block of Peebles dolomite. Protecting the Moore tract also helps to safeguard a population of uncommon snow trillium (Trillium nivale) population on an adjacent tract of protected land while preserving the quality of Ohio Brush Creek.

Generously donated by Jan and Wym Portman, the 154-acre Portman tract at Edge of Appalachia Preserve in Adams County protects a quarter mile of Ohio Brush Creek and one-third of a mile of Beasley Fork. The property also boasts extensive wooded slopes of the Ohio Brush Creek valley wall. The land has small cliffs of Peebles dolomite and a few small sinkholes. Protection of this land helps preserve a portion of the incredible view visitors see when they look out on the Ohio Brush Creek valley from the top of Buzzardroost Rock.

Frame Tract

Acquired January 2023

Peebles dolomite rock peeks out of green grass in a dry, limestone prairie with trees in the distance.
Stream flows through lush green forest at Edge of Appalachia Preserve.
Water cascades over rocks in forest at Edge of Appalachia Preserve.
A peebles dolomite rock formation overhangs wooded area at Edge of Appalachia Preserve.

Nearly adjacent to Lynx Prairie, the 98-acre Frame tract is part of the larger Lynx Prairie landscape. The property is marked by rolling hills, dolomite cliffs and rocky streams that encompass one of the most extensive landscapes in Ohio of very rare, dry limestone prairie. The area supports three state-listed species, including Uhler’s sundragon (Helocordulia uhleri), jelly lichen (Enchylium coccophorum) and a state-threatened soil lichen (Placidium squamulosum). The forests and prairies of the Edge of Appalachia protect one of Ohio’s most valuable resources—fresh water. The Frame tract helps protect nearly one-third of a mile of Middle Branch Run and three-fourths of a mile of spring-fed tributaries, all feeding into Scioto Brush Creek, one of Ohio’s highest-quality streams.  

Rich Tract

Acquired December 2022

Bog habitat surrounded by forest at Morgan Swamp.
Sphagnum moss hummocks cover the forest floor at Morgan Swamp.
Dead trees stand in a recently abandoned beaver pond at Morgan Swamp Preserve.
A field of Joe-pye weed and giant goldenrod in bloom in a forest-lined meadow at Morgan Swamp Preserve.
A closeup of the purple blossoms of Joe-pye weed as it blooms in a meadow at Morgan Swamp.
Ferns and trees grow out of standing water in a forest.
Northern long sedge grows in the forest at Morgan Swamp.
Ferns surround a small bog at Morgan Swamp Preserve.
Grasses and small trees stand in open area surrounded by forest at Morgan Swamp Preserve.
A beaver dam sits in the foreground of a pond at Morgan Swamp.

Located in Ashtabula County, the Rich tract adds 100 acres to the Morgan Swamp Preserve, which now protects 2,154 acres. The Rich tract is a crown-jewel-type addition to the core area of the preserve. It protects the remainder of the largest New England bog on the preserve, the largest population of Virginia chain fern in Ohio as well as the only population on the preserve of state potentially threatened Woodland horsetail (Equisitum sylvaticum). Protection of this massive wetland area helps ensure that the Grand River remains one of the most biodiverse tributaries in the entire Lake Erie watershed.

A barn sits in a field of tall grass at Kitty Todd.
Colgan Tract The Colgan tract adds 14 acres to the Kitty Todd Nature Preserve. © Terry Seidel/TNC

Colgan Tract

Acquired November 2022

Located within the globally significant Oak Openings Region, the Colgan tract adds 14 acres to the Kitty Todd Nature Preserve and helps further efforts to expand protection of the region. Kitty Todd lies within a matrix of wetland, forest and oak savanna habitats and includes a portion of the historic Irwin Prairie landscape, an area that once covered an estimated 5,000 acres in the Oak Openings Region of Ohio. The property was purchased using funds from the Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program, which funds the protection and restoration of high-quality streams and wetlands. It will be restored with support from the H2Ohio Program.

Land Protection Over the Years

Rocky landscape is surrounded by forest at Edge of Appalachia Preserve.
Maynard Headwater Habitat Protection of this property helps protect part of the headwaters of Demazie Hollow. © Terry Seidel/TNC

Maynard Property

The Maynard property is a 14-acre addition to the Sunshine Corridor in southern Ohio. The acquisition helps to protect part of the headwaters of Demazie Hollow, much of which is protected in Shawnee State Forest.

Headwater stream flows through lush green forest at Edge of Appalachia Preserve.
Bilyeu Tract The Bilyeu tract at Edge of Appalachia Preserve in southern Ohio protects important headwater habitats like this stream. © Terry Seidel/TNC

Bilyeu Tract

Adjacent to Shawnee State Forest, the Bilyeu property is a 164-acre addition to Edge of Appalachia Preserve. It protects more than 3,600 feet of the headwaters of Long Lick Run, a warm-water habitat tributary of the Ohio River.

A dirt boat ramp leads to a river in a forested area of Mackenzie Run.
Mackenzie Run Boat Ramp The Mackenzie Run property creates an opportunity to provide public boating and fishing access to Ohio Brush Creek. © Terry Seidel/TNC

Mackenzie Run

TNC worked with partners to restore the 37-acre Mackenzie Run, part of Edge of Appalachia Preserve, to natural habitat while providing public access through the enhancement of a boat and canoe launch.

Hardwood trees sit at the edge of a slope in a colorful fall forest.
Ladd Tract Forest Chestnut oaks and sourwood trees stand tall within the Ladd Tract addition to the Edge of Appalachia Preserve System. © Terry Seidel/TNC

Ladd Tract

The 128-acre Ladd tract at Edge of Appalachia protects hardwood forest that sustains numerous species of wildlife including black bear, bobcat, turkey, cerulean and worm-eating warblers and spotted salamanders.

Small yellow flowers dot prairie habitat.
Rare Prairie Habitat Protected The Jenkins tract protects a variety of habitats including rare dry limestone prairie. © Terry Seidel/TNC

Jenkins Tract

The 94-acre Jenkins tract at Edge of Appalachia protects many important habitats including spring-fed tributaries, deciduous forest, red cedar thickets and rare dry limestone prairie that bursts with color each summer.

Fall trees at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve.
Connected Habitat Protection of the Gray Tract helps create a corridor of connected habitat. © Terry Seidel/TNC

Gray Tract

This 20-acre addition to the Edge of Appalachia Preserve serves as a gateway to the Sunshine Corridor, and protects the headwaters of Blue Creek, a tributary to the very high-quality Scioto Brush Creek.

Visit an Open Preserve

While not all of TNC's properties are open to the public, we're proud to support eight open preserves where the public can enjoy access to the best of Ohio nature. Check out the map for more information about our open preserves and plan your visit today. 

A creek meanders through a forest with tall green trees along its banks.
Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve
This preserve is a mixture of wetlands and forests where springs emerge to form the headwaters of Big Darby Creek. It features a trail with interpretive signage.
Green fern plants and trees surround a walking path.
Brown's Lake Bog
This 100-acre preserve is a bog with its floating sphagnum moss mat, a 7-acre kettle lake and an outstanding example of a glacially formed hill known as a kame.
A view looking across Snow Lake, surrounded by trees with orange, red, yellow and brown fall foliage.
Lucia S. Nash Preserve
The Lucia S. Nash Preserve lies within the Western Allegheny Plateau Ecoregion. A National Natural Landmark, it is the only remaining old-growth white pine boreal bog in Ohio.
View of wetlands covered in various plant species with its shore lined by trees.
Great Egret Marsh Preserve
Great Egret Marsh Preserve, across the road from East Harbor State Park, consists of more than 150 acres of marsh and surrounding upland in Ottawa County on Catawba Island.
A field of purple lupine stretches to a border of trees in the background.
Kitty Todd Nature Preserve
Kitty Todd protects one of the finest remaining examples of Northwest Ohio's Oak Openings Region.
Prairie habitat at Kitty Todd Nature Preserve's Salamander Flats.
Kitty Todd Nature Preserve Salamander Flats
Part of the Kitty Todd Nature Preserve, Salamander Flats offers a hike through rare mesic to wet sand prairie habitat in the Oak Openings Region of northwest Ohio.
Landscape view of large wetland at Sandhill Crane Wetlands, with a body of water in the foreground and a forest of trees surrounding the wetland in the distance.
Kitty Todd Preserve Sandhill Crane Wetlands
Part of the Kitty Todd Nature Preserve, Sandhill Crane Wetlands is a 280-acre restored native wet prairie habitat in the Oak Openings Region of northwest Ohio.
Summer view of wetland.
Herrick Fen Nature Preserve
Herrick Fen is important for its tamarack fen communities, featuring the only native conifer in Ohio that sheds its needles each year. The preserve provides habitat for over two do
A shallow, still stream with green, tree-lined banks.
Morgan Swamp Preserve
At more 2,000 acres, The Nature Conservancy’s Morgan Swamp Preserve is one of the largest privately protected forested wetlands in Ohio.
Two people paddle a red canoe on a stream.
Grand River Conservation Campus
Nestled within the Morgan Swamp Preserve, the Grand River Conservation Campus is a serene setting of facilities and grounds used for recreation, environmental education and restora
A waterfall in the lush green forest in summer.
Edge of Appalachia Cedar Falls Preserve
The John and Marion Becker Cedar Falls Preserve features rare northern white cedar trees, wildflowers, dramatic cliffs, huge boulders and, of course, Cedar Falls.
Beech trees in forest.
Edge Of Appalachia Wilderness Trail
This trail at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve offers hikers a chance to escape into the woods for some peace and quiet, except for the sounds of local wildlife.
Overlook on the Joan Jones Portman Trail looking out at lush green tree-covered hills under a blue sky.
Joan Jones Portman Trail
The Dr. George Rieveschl Jr. Creek’s Bend Overlook is the first stop in exploring the Edge of Appalachia Preserve, Ohio’s largest privately owned protected natural area.
View of meadow and sunny sky.
Edge Of Appalachia Lynx Prairie Trail
The Nature Conservancy got its start in Ohio with this preserve on the advice of famed botanist E. Lucy Braun. Enjoy a hike on the looped trail through prairies and woodlands.
A tall rocky outcropping with wooden boardwalk and platform overlook juts out of the forest at Edge of Appalachia Preserve.
Edge Of Appalachia Buzzardroost Rock Trail
The Christian & Emma Goetz Buzzardroost Rock trail is the most popular of all trails at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve System and leads to some of the best views in Ohio.
Aerial view of protected forest in the summer.
Edge of Appalachia Preserve System
The Edge of Appalachia Preserve System encompasses more than 22,000 acres in beautiful southern Ohio.

Ohio Open Preserves From hiking and kayaking to birdwatching and wildflower spotting, our preserves offer a diversity of outdoor activities that are fun for the whole family.