Swanton, Ohio 43558Oak Openings Preserve Metropark webpage
Oak Openings Preserve Metropark is a stop on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.
The Evergreen Trail begins at Oak Openings Lodge and passes through stands of non-native evergreen trees, as well as open areas, sand dunes, and native prairie. Ground nesting birds such as field sparrows, as well as the state-endangered lark sparrow nest in the openings. Special care needs to be taken when walking this trail during May and June, as these birds often nest very close by. Pileated woodpeckers, yellow-throated vireos, summer tanagers and pine warblers are often seen and heard in these habitats. Eastern bluebirds can be viewed nesting in the wooden nest boxes placed in this vicinity. Prairie wildflowers such as rough blazing star and tall coreopsis highlight this area during July.
Parking for this trail can be found at Mallard Lake Area or Oak Openings Lodge Area.
Located between Whitehouse and Swanton, Oak Openings Preserve takes its name from the surrounding region, which is 23 times larger than the park itself. That’s something to consider when you realize that Oak Openings Preserve is over 4,000 acres.
Pioneers trudging through a dense swamp called this area “Oak Openings.” Most of the park is an oak savanna ecosystem, characterized by alternating wetlands and vegetated dunes. The Nature Conservancy once named the sandy region one of the 200 “Last Great Places on Earth.”
Prickly-pear cactus, wild lupine, and sand cherry bloom atop dry, hot sand dunes just yards away from orchids growing in low, wet swales. There are more than 50 miles of trails in Oak Openings Preserve. Stands of isolated pine and spruce planted by the WPA during the Great Depression are still visible.
Oak Openings is a birder’s paradise. It is the nesting place of Bluebirds, Indigo Buntings, Whippoorwills, Lark Sparrows, and many other species, as well as an excellent location to see migrating songbirds in the spring.
From Oak Openings Preserve Metropark webpage
Restrooms at locations identified on park map.
ADA accessible facilities at locations identified on park map.