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.