trail at Morgan Swamp ends at an observation deck at
Long Pond near Rock Creek. The Nature Conservancy
owns about 1,400 acres.
County is Ohioís covered-bridge capital.
can savor one of the countyís 18 covered bridges when
you visit the Harpersfield Covered Bridge over the Grand
River in Harpersfield Township. It is one of the most
popular and most easily accessible covered bridges in the
is three miles south of Geneva and close to Interstate 90
and state Route 534. It is also close to the countyís
wineries and tasting rooms.
bridge was built in 1868. It is on the prestigious
National Register of Historic Places. It was one of the
longest covered bridges in Ohio at 228 feet.
1913 flood washed away land at the north end of the
bridge, and a 140-foot steel span was then attached.
leaves a covered and an uncovered bridge on Harpersfield
Road next to the Grand River Dam.
bridge clearance is 12 feet, 9 inches. There is also a
walkway in the covered section of the bridge. The walkway
was added in 1991-1992.
a pretty spot with a park at the bridge.
information, call 440-576-0717 or go to
biggest covered bridge in Ashtabula County is also the
613-foot-long Smolen-Gulf Bridge, lies just south of
Ashtabula. It opened in 2008 and cost $7.78 million.
wooden bridge over the Ashtabula River is widely hailed as
the longest covered bridge in the United States and the
fourth longest in the world.
the 450-foot-long Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge over the
Connecticut River between New Hampshire and Vermont was
the No. 1 covered bridge in the United States.
longest covered bridge is a Canadian bridge in New
Brunswick that is 1,282 feet long.
Ashtabula County bridge is 51 feet wide and 37 feet high.
It stands 93 feet above the stream.
was built of Douglas fir and yellow pine with hemlock and
yellow poplar for the siding.
County once had 53 covered bridges and Ohio had about
4,000, of which 140 are still standing. Nationally, there
are about 1,000 covered bridges still standing.
17 of the 18 bridges in Ashtabula County still carry
County offers two driving tours of its covered bridges:
one includes 11 bridges and covers 69 miles; the other has
five bridges and covers 66 miles. For maps, call
440-275-3202 or go to www.visitashtabulacounty.com.
county hosts a two-day Covered Bridge Festival on the
second weekend in October with guided and
drive-it-yourself tours from the county fairgrounds in
more information, call 440-576-3769 or go to
www.coveredbridgefestival.org. It provides a bridge map on
of the wettest attractions in Ashtabula County is
little-known Morgan Swamp.
1,400-acre tract is one of the largest privately protected
forested wetlands in Ohio. It is also one of the largest
undeveloped interior wetlands in Ohio with its elevated
hummocks and boggy lowlands.
is significant for its size, its rare plants and its
proximity to the Grand River. It is known for its swamp
forests with yellow birches and Eastern hemlocks, a rare
Swamp is owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy, the
national land conservation group. It invested heavily
since 1985 to purchase the wetlands. It has added and
preserve offers a rich diversity of plants and animals
including black bears, bobcats, river otters and the
Eastern massasauga rattlesnake. The snake, rarely seen, is
2 to 3 feet long. It is thick with a gray-colored body.
preserve features plants and animals more typically found
farther north in Canada. Most are at the southern edge of
their ranges in North America.
preserve, part of whatís called the Grand River
Lowlands, features 115 species of birds, 24 species of
fish, 28 species of reptiles and amphibians and 24 species
of mammals. It is home to 60 rare plant species.
snowshoe hare was reintroduced by the Ohio Department of
Natural Resources in 2005. That effort is not doing well.
preserve was opened to the public in 2006. Today there are
now 2.75 miles of trails at Morgan Swamp and at the nearby
Grand River Conservation Campus that houses the Nature
Conservancy operations in northern Ohio.
Swamp features a 1.25-mile trail. The first quarter mile
of that trail goes from the parking lot off Footville-Richmond
Road (state Route 166) west of Rock Creek to a wooden
then becomes a more-primitive trail that drops by the edge
of a beaver pond and climbs a short hill before cutting
across a wooded plateau. It abruptly ends at a wetland
called Long Pond with another observation deck. Then you
must backtrack. It is mostly flat and is marked by red
blazes painted on trees.
Nature Conservancy obtained the 58-acre campus with two
dozen buildings including two gymnasiums in 2011 from the
Cleveland-based City Mission.
facility, a onetime farm and later a hunting camp and
lodge, includes a half-mile of frontage on the Grand
City Mission had operated a Christian camp there starting
in 1965. Prior to that, a Cleveland-based Jewish group
also operated a camp on the site off Callender Road.
2009, the Nature Conservancy purchased 206 acres from the
City Mission to add to Morgan Swamp.
the conservation campus, there are three trails: the
0.2-mile Bliss Pond Trail with overlooks on the Grand
River and an accessible fishing pier; the easy 0.3-mile
Grand River Trail that connects the two other trails and
runs along the river; and the moderate 1-mile Hemlock
Swamp Trail. It starts near the river and winds through a
unique hemlock-yellow birch forest and overlooks a beaver
pond. The Hemlock Swamp Trail is the star and the trail
worth hiking to get a glimpse of the interior of Morgan
Nature Conservancy-owned lands cover 70 percent of the
remaining wetlands that once covered five square miles
when the first settlers arrived.
Ashtabula County wetlands were logged, drained, farmed and
its peat was harvested and burned. But the wetlands have
been largely untouched for the last 100 years and have
wetlands are critical to the health of the Grand River
that flows into Lake Erie.
56-mile stretch of the Grand River is part of Ohioís
wild and scenic river system. It was designated in 1974.
It is one of 16 Ohio rivers to be honored.
the greatest threats to Morgan Swamp are the destruction
of nearby wetlands, logging within the Grand River
watershed and invasive species, the Nature Conservancy
conservancy has been working to fight those threats
through wetland restoration, land acquisition and
Swamp and the conservation campus are open from dawn to
get to Morgan Swamp from Akron, take state Route 8 north
to I-271. Take that to I-90 and head toward Erie, Pa. Exit
at state Route 534. Head south for seven miles. Turn left
and head east on Footville-Richmond Road (state Route
166). Proceed for 3.4 miles. The parking lot for the Long
Pond Trail is on the right.
get to the conservation campus, head south from I-90 on
state Route 534. Turn left and head east on Footville-Richmond
Road (state Route 166) for two miles. Turn right and head
south on Windsor-Mechanicsville Road for 1.8 miles. Turn
left on Callender Road. Proceed to 3973 Callender Road on
the left just before the bridge over the Grand River.
information, call 614-717-2770 or go to www.nature.org/ohio/openpreserves.
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