Places We Protect

Morgan Swamp Preserve


A shallow, still stream with green, tree-lined banks.
Morgan Swamp Preserve The trail follows along the Grand River at the Morgan Swamp Preserve. © Carl Feather

At over 2,000 acres, Morgan Swamp is one of the largest protected wetland communities in Ohio.



At over 2,000 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 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 Trumbull 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.




The preserve and trails are open year-round, daily from dawn to dusk.


This preserve offers three separate trails to explore unique wetlands, forests and prairies.  While you are there, you may see beaver or otter in the wetlands or along the Grand River.  Activities include: hiking, birding, kayaking/canoeing, fishing and observing native plants.


2,000 acres

Electric Vehicle Charging

We offer two EV charging stations available in the parking area of the Grand River Conservation Campus.

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Photos from Morgan Swamp Preserve

With a large variety of habitats, this ethereal preserve is home to some of the richest biodiversity in Ohio wildlife, flora and fauna.

Landscape shot of Morgan Swamp wetlands.
Hemlock-yellow birch swamp.
Lizard's Tail on the ground.
People in a kayak float down a tree lined river.
A trail along the Grand River at the Morgan Swamp Preserve.
Wetland habitat where trees and vegetation grow out of the water at Morgan Swamp Preserve.
Bliss Pond Overlook at Morgan Swamp Preserve.
Wetlands at Morgan Swamp Preserve.
Morgan Swamp Preserve in the winter time, with trees and vegetation dusted in snow.
Hemlock-yellow birch swamp at sunset.


  • 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 Morgan Swamp Preserve property are accessible for public use—Long Pond and Grand River Conservation Campus. Both sections of the property offer opportunities for hiking and wildlife-watching. Grand River Conservation Campus also offers a playground, access to paddling/fishing and the Dr. James K. Bissell Nature Center.

  • Visitors to Morgan Swamp Preserve can explore more than three miles of walking trails:


    • Length: 1.25 miles (0.25 miles trail from parking lot to observation deck, 1-mile primitive trail extension to and from observation deck)
    • Difficulty: Parking lot to observation deck—easy. Primitive trail extension—moderate.


    • Bliss Pond Trail: an easy 0.2 mile trail with overlooks of the Grand River and the Conservation Campus.
    • Grand River Trail: an easy 0.3 mile trail along the Grand River that connects with the Hemlock Swamp & Bliss Pond trails.
    • Hemlock Swamp Trail: a moderate, 1-mile trail that starts from the Grand River Trail, winds through a unique hemlock yellow birch forest and overlooks a beaver pond.
  • Our vision is of a world where people and nature thrive together. The Nature Conservancy encourages people of all ages, races, ethnicities, religions, gender expressions, and abilities to visit our preserves and has a zero-tolerance policy for racism and discrimination.

    The following activities are NOT permitted at Morgan Swamp Preserve:

    • Biking and mountain biking
    • Camping
    • Driving an ATV or off-road vehicle
    • Cooking or camp fires
    • Horseback riding
    • Hunting
    • Picking flowers, berries, nuts or mushrooms
    • Removing any part of the natural landscape
    • Snowmobiling

    Morgan Swamp Preserve is pet-friendly. Leashed pets (leash no longer than 6 feet) are welcome on the trails.

    For information about the use of other power-driven mobility devices (OPDMDs) at our open preserves, please visit our OPDMD guidelines.

Current Conservation Work

Morgan Swamp and the surrounding area is a 2,000-acre remnant of a 5-square-mile swamp that existed at the time of European colonization. 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.

TNC 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. This site was later named Grand River Conservation Campus. The Campus is now home to our Dr. James K. Bissell Nature Center.
  • In 2009, TNC expanded Morgan Swamp Preserve by more than 250 acres, including a 70-acre conservation easement.
  • In 2006, TNC 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.
  • TNC has for years sustained the unique nature of the plant and animal communities at Morgan Swamp through invasive species control.
  • Hunting is permitted on a very select portion of the Morgan Swamp Preserve at certain times of the year. Permission to hunt is granted by TNC staff to a limited number of applicants. The permit application process for Morgan Swamp will be open from July 15-August 15, 2023. For more information about hunting, including links to permit applications (once open), please visit our Ohio Hunting page.

Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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