At nearly 2,000 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.
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.
In 2011, a generous donation from the Cleveland-based City Mission expanded the preserve and increased protection efforts along the Grand River. This site, now known as the Grand River Conservation Campus, has accommodated a number of purposes over the years, from a large cattle and swine farm, to private hunting grounds, to a religious retreat center with recreational activities.
Visitors to Morgan Swamp Preserve can explore more than 3 miles of walking trails. Get more information and plan your trip!