Wayne National Forest--Sand Fork Wetland

Tips for Birding

Access to the Sand Fork Wetland is via a dirt and gravel road that ends at an old house site. The national forest ownership starts at the beginning of the wetland. The agriculture fields at the entrance are privately owned. Visitors should be cautious to stay on the road when parking, as the ground is extremely soft and it is very easy to get stuck while turning your vehicle around. The wetlands are constructed. There is a series of wetlands that continue upstream from the main wetland. These other wetlands are much more shallow. A very large diversity of birds have been seen here and it is a wonderful place to bird.

About this Location

The primary type of wetland that occurs on the Wayne National Forest is known as a floodplain wetland. These wetlands were seasonally inundated as a result of stream flooding. Water stored on the floodplain would slowly soak back into the ground, but small depressions on the floodplain led to areas that held water for longer periods of time. Mosaics of wetland soils resulted from years and years of seasonal flooding.

Because of their gentle topography, floodplains were valued by southeastern Ohio settlers for raising agricultural crops. Many floodplain wetlands were ditched or drained with tiles to enhance production of crops. Over the years, the Wayne National Forest has acquired lands that were tiled or ditched and has restored or enhanced wetland habitat along streams like Sand Fork, Pine Creek, and the Little Muskingum River.

About Wayne National Forest

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 Zachary Allen who works in the National Forest, Wayne National Forest Wetlands webpage, and Wayne National Forest website