Wayne National Forest--Rutherford Wetland and Anderson Nature Trail

About this Location

Rutherford Wetland, located in the Monday Creek floodplain, has an interesting history. The land is part of Ward Township, organized in 1836. The bottom lands along Monday Creek were cleared for farming. As the Mineral Railroad expanded, and the railroad line was built to haul timber and coal from New Straitsville, the hydrology of the floodplain began changing. The railroad bed caused water to back up onto the farm fields—not just during the spring floods, but throughout the year. Farmers could no longer use the fields to grow crops, and after a period of time, the fields were allowed to grow back into brush and trees. The Forest Service acquired this bottomland area in the early 1990s. Today, a shrub-scrub wetland can be found alongside a second-growth floodplain forest. Beaver soon moved into the area and dammed the culvert that once drained part of the field. Water further backed up into the area creating a diverse wetland.

The Anderson Nature Trail is a fully accessible 0.5-mile hiking trail and the newest trail in the Athens District of the Wayne National Forest. The surfaced trail is built on an abandoned railroad bed. The first portion of the trail lies between the wetland and the Monday Creek bottom land. Further down the trail, visitors will walk through a pine plantation, a hardwood forest, and along a pond.

About Wayne National Forest

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The Wayne National Forest is located in the hills of southeastern Ohio. This small national forest, in the heart of the heavily populated Midwest, covers almost a quarter million acres of Appalachian foothills. The Wayne is divided into three blocks administered by two Ranger Districts at Athens and Ironton. A field office is also located east of Marietta.

Visitors to national forest lands are welcome to camp, hike, hunt, and fish. The Forest boundaries surround a checkerboard pattern of ownership, with public and private ownership interspersed. There are over 300 miles of trails in the Forest for hiking, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding, mountain biking, or horseback riding.

Content from Anderson Nature Trail brochure and Wayne National Forest website