Eaton, Ohio 45320Official Website
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Preble County Birding Drive
There is a good network of trails located in and around the grasslands west of Tucker Road. They can easily be seen from satellite view in Google Maps. You can leave the open areas and walk in the woods, but the trails are sometimes faint and can be hard to follow. There are some better trails in the woods starting at the parking lot on Sugar Valley Drive. The trails are not mowed during the breeding season (not until mid-August in 2022), so they can become quite overgrown and hard to walk in late spring and summer; the easiest walking occurs from whenever they are mowed in the summer until the grass begins to grow the next spring. More trails will probably be developed in the newly purchased land. Off-trail walking is permitted, so the entire wildlife area is fair game to explore. Note that Woodland Trails is frequented by hunters, so caution should be exercised during hunting season.
Northern Bobwhite, Henslow's Sparrow, Yellow-breasted Chat, Prairie Warbler, and Blue Grosbeak nest in the open areas of the park. In addition, there has been one report each of Bell's Vireo, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Dickcissel. The wetlands attract ducks, shorebirds, herons, and rails. The grasslands have potential for winter rarities like Short-eared Owl, Rough-legged Hawk, and Northern Shrike.
Woodland Trails Wildlife Area is located seven miles south of Eaton near the town of Camden. The original 716 acres were purchased from the Miami Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America in 2000. Most of the original purchase lies west of Tucker and Poyner-Wright Rds. The northern and western two-thirds of this area consists of hardwood forests along Paint Creek. The southeastern third consists of grassland crisscrossed by wide, brushy fencerows and scattered with marshes. This area has five wetlands that regularly have open water.
In 2022 and 2023, the ODNR purchased the rest of the scout reservation. This area lies to the east of the original section. It is mostly forest, with a few grasslands and marshes, as well as the 20-acre Four Eagles Lake. There is an old road that travels through the new section, from the intersection of Camden Rd and Gasper Somers Rd to the intersection of Tucker Rd and Poyner Wright Rd. This road offers easy walking but is not open to vehicles. The most recent acquisition (April 2023), including the lake, has not yet been opened to the public (as of May 7).
The main parking area is located on the south side of Poyner-Wright Road. There is also another parking area just south of the intersection of Sugar Valley Drive and Paint Creek Road. The lodge and lake area in the newly purchased ground also has parking. There are various other small areas to pull off the road and park, with room for one or two vehicles.
Restrooms on site
Wheelchair accessible trail
Content from Levi Metzger
Last updated June 7, 2023