Oak Burr State Park

Found in the valley of Sunday Creek, the Burr Oak area was habited by Native Americans and later European settlers who found plentiful game and other resources needed for survival.

In the 1800s coal was found and mined for years. Santoy was a near-by mining town with a sorted history of gunfights and a coal company payroll robbery—truly bringing the “Old West” feel to Ohio.

In 1950 Burr Oak Lake was man created when the Tom Jenkins Dam was built. Two years after its construction the Burr Oak area was created as a state park.

The park features miles of tree-lined ridges while hollows comprise the foothills giving the perfect Appalachian feel. The woodlands are home to all kinds of wildlife such as white-tailed deer, box turtles, ruffed grouse and wild turkey. The lakeshore is inhabited by the majestic bald eagles, blue herons and other beautiful waterfowl.

The forest is populated by many hardwoods, mostly oaks and hickories. In autumn Burr Oak is well-known as a foliage viewing destination and the varied hardwood puts all of nature’s fall colors on full display. Spring, however, is just as expressive in its coloration at Burr Oak with when wildflowers like violets, Dutchman’s breeches, trillium, bloodroot and hepatica show off their colors while in full bloom.



Karlo Fen Nature Preserve

The Karlo Fen in Summit County lives between the base of gravel and sand deposits from glacial outwash. This small preserve, 18 acre, supports a surprisingly rich diversity of fen and bog species including Bebb’s sedge.

This is a species of sedge that usually lives in the northern US and Canada. It likes wetland habitats like lake shores, stream banks, ditches, swamps, seeps and swamps. Its dense tufts for with culms up to 90 centimeters tall. Blazing star, autumn willow and deciduous conifer, tamarack all live in the preserve as well.

Sphagnum moss, the acidic loving plants like grass pink and rose pogonia orchids found among insectivorous plant and round-leaved sundrew.

Although access to the reserve is limited to permit holders it is situated near the well known and public Nimisila Reservoir area, the Karlo fen is the only a small remnant of what was once a much larger ecosystem of the region. Suburban development south of Akron has surrounded by Ohio’s glacial carved ecosystems.

It takes careful management and watching of Karlo fen to preserve the landscape and rare species of plants—this being the reason for restricting public access to permit holders only.



Portage Lakes State Park

Portage Lakes Wetland State Park is a tall shrub, sphagnum bog community. The park is made up of speckled alder and arrowwood. Much of the wet basin is inaccessible with regular footwear due to land being too wet. Ankle high boots, at least, are needed to traverse this part of the parks and some ways may be blocked by thick shrubs.

The four hundred and eleven Portage Lakes State Park offer patrons all kinds of activities: boating, fishing, and swimming are popular on the lakes. Both hunters and birders enjoy the plethora of waterfowl and shorebirds.

Some rare plant species growing in the park and in the wetlands include tamarack, swamp birch, alder-leaved buckthorn and smooth gooseberry.

The Portage Lakes—8 lakes in the system—is a somewhat unique feature in Ohio. Although Ohio has always offered lots of water for its in habitants from Lake Erie and its related river systems Ohio is shy on natural lakes. The Portage lake system is a direct result of glacial activity, which has shaped much of the landscape in Ohio.

Herrick Fen Nature Preserve

Herrick Fen nature preserve is not just a beautiful place to visit in Ohio; it is important because of its growth of tamarack and cinquefoil-sedge fen communities.

The tamarack fen supports one of the only reproducing populations of tamarack in Ohio. It is the only native conifer in Ohio that drops its needles annually.

The cinquefoil-sedge fen contains a dense population of bayberry, a plant listed as endangered within the state of Ohio; it is found in only three known locations.

Herrick Fen lives in the Tinker’s Creek watershed, part of the glaciate Allegheny Plateau in northeast Ohio. The fen lives upon buried pre-glacial valley filled with silt and gravel that lets the cold, calcium and magnesium dense springs which help support the fen communities.

Herrick Fen didn’t exist as it is today until 1953 when a damn was built across one of Tinker’s Creek’s tributaries. This impacted the original extent of the fen communities. The lake has actually produced a whole variety of wetland communities; these include homes for many aquatic species and created excellent conditions for observing both waterfowl and many migratory bird species.

A maple and beech forest makes up the border of the wetlands on the northeastern side. The southern edge is marked by hardwoods. Herrick Fen is the home of over 20 species of state-listed plants such as: yellow sedge, crinkled hairgrass, water aven, bunchflower, autumn willow and green cotton-grass.


Shrum Mound, Columbus OH

Shrum Mound is one of the last ancient burial mounds of the cone-shaped variety in Columbus, Ohio. It is located in Campbell Park. It is a Native American burial mound created about 2,000 years ago by pre-Columbian Native Americans from the Adena culture. The mound is 20 feet high and about 100 feet around.

The mound is named of the Shrums who once owned a farm on the land where the mound is found. The Shrums donated the land. Campbell Park is named for James E. Campbell, late Ohio governor, who donated surrounding lands that were turned into Campbell Memorial Park. Campbell was Governor from 1890-1892.

One of the last remaining ancient conical burial mounds in the city of Columbus, Shrum Mound was constructed about 2,000 years ago by the Adena people. The mound is named for the donors, the Shrum family. The park is named for James E. Campbell, governor of Ohio from 1890 to 1892.

The Ohio History Connection, caretakers of the mound, removed about 18 trees located on the top of the mound in 2015 in order to preserve the mound. Their concern was that if storms caught the trees and uprooted them this would destroy the mound.