Tom S. Cooperrider Kent Bog State Nature Preserve

In Kent, Ohio there is a fantastic nature preserve with unique features for hikers to enjoy: the Tom S. Cooperrider Kent Bog State Nature Preserve. The bog was carved out by the Wisconsin Glaciation. And the Kent Bog is a true bog in that it has acidic waters. The bog also contains the largest community of tamarack trees in the state of Ohio.

There is a boardwalk trail that loops around the bog leaving hikers back at the parking lot. Along the trail there are plenty of educational signs describing the unique plant and animal life. The signs also discuss the geological creation of the bog.

The bog is named for Tom S. Cooperrider. He was a botanist, author, and emeritus professor of biology at Kent State University. He made many contributions in studying the bog as well as other flora in the state. You can read about his study of the Kent Bog in his 2010 book, Botanical Essays from Kent.

The bog formed when the Wisconsin Glacier retreated. A piece of the glacial ice broke and was buried in sediment which formed a ridge around the ice. This created a deep kettle hole lake. The original size of the kettle-hole was about 50 acres.

The climate then warmed, and plant life spread over the lake. Much of this was sphagnum moss. This allowed the process by which the lake became a bog as the moss decomposed into peat. Now very little standing water is visible from the boardwalk.

The forest is coniferous. It is a boreal forest that includes spruce, fir and tamarack trees. Tamarack are trees more common to upper parts of Canada and Alaska. Tamarack are able to withstand very cold temperatures. It sheds it needles in winter unlike conifers and deciduous trees. This changes the look of the bog throughout the seasons.

Cedar Bog Nature Preserve

The Cedar Bog Nature Preserve was the first in Ohio to be bought with state money—many think of the bog as the premiere natural preservation in Ohio. It is owned by the state and run by a non-profit organization, the Cedar Bog Association for the Ohio History Connection.

Cedar Bog is one of 25 National Natural Landmarks in Ohio meaning it is recognized for its importance. It is ranked the highest in the state of Ohio for its plant and flower diversity.

The boardwalk, a about a mile and quarter long, is open during daylight seven days a week unless noted otherwise. Ohioans and visitors are encouraged to come and walk among the incredibly diverse plant and wildlife Cedar Bog Nature Preserve.

The Cedar Bog Nature Center is located immediately inside the preserve itself. The Cedar Bog Nature Center is a focal point of environmental education, natural history education and various workshops. The center is composed of a full-size classroom, exhibit hall and gift shop.

Visitors of Cedar Bog Nature Center can enjoy nature from the beautiful observation deck. Additionally, visitors should tour the rain garden, the home of birds and butterflies, which also includes a picnic area.