Summer heat is fueling white, pink, yellow and purple blooms across Ohio’s state nature preserves. Ohio’s natural landscapes are adorned with a seemingly endless variety of colorful explosions during the summer months.
“Ohio’s beauty goes far beyond the first flowers in Spring,” said Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz. “You can reconnect with nature while admiring colorful wildflowers lining trails and hillsides all over the state.”
Ottawa County is home to the Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve and the Great Egret Marsh, both on the Marblehead Peninsula, and the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Oak Harbor. They are among the 137 State Nature Preserves sprinkled around Buckeye State, diverse areas of land that contain remnants of Ohio’s pre-settlement past.
While the majority of preserves are owned or managed by the state, some preserves are leased to local park districts for management. Even private landowners have dedicated their lands as preserves in order for them to be protected.
Wildflower season begins in Ohio’s woodlands in spring but transitions into more open habitats come summer, especially the Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve that was substantially expanded in size in 2019. Some of the most impressive displays can be found in prairie and wetland ecosystems, such as the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.
Around Ohio, the best remaining examples of native prairie in the state can be found in Bigelow Cemetery Prairie (Madison County), Smith Cemetery Prairie (Madison County), Milford Center Prairie (Union County), and Chaparral Prairie State Nature Preserves (Adams County). Great places to observe summer wetland bloomers include Irwin Prairie (Lucas County) and Gallagher Fen (Clark County) State Nature Preserves and Lake Hope (Vinton County) and Strouds Run (Athens County) State Parks.
Most State Nature Preserves contain a trail system and small parking lot. A few contain no facilities except for boundary and entrance signs.
Preserves allow user access that allows the least amount of physical impact to the rare habitats and species.
Visitors must stay on trails. Pets are not allowed.