South Bass Island--Dodge Woods Preserve

About this Location

The 3.5913-acre property is located at the intersection of Langram and Thompson Roads on South Bass Island, Ottawa County, Ohio. It was purchased by the Put-in-Bay Township Park District with Clean Ohio Conservation Fund Grants with the match funds coming from the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy, the John Ladd family, and a bargain sale from owner John Dodge.

This wooded area is mostly a young forest, having been a vineyard at one time. There is a mix of black walnut, common hackberry, black cherry, Kentucky coffeetree, wild grape, mulberry, and eastern red cedar with some planted conifers and fruit trees on the edges as well as herbaceous plants and sedges.

Spring wildflowers such as Virginia waterleaf, bloodroot, wild leeks, false Solomon’s Seal, and buttercups are found in the trail area. Enchanters nightshade, as well as the tall bellflower, are followed by Short’s aster and goldenrod in the fall.

The variety of habitats makes it a nice stop for birding in the spring migration season. The Eastern Fox Snake (Elaphe vulpine gloydi, state species of concern) and the melanistic form of the Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis, state species of concern) have also been recorded in the immediate vicinity.

The property will be open to public access daily from dawn to dusk. A loop walking path with a small parking area on Thompson Road has been installed. A bicycle rack, bench, brochure rack, and donation box will be installed at the trailhead. The property is adjacent to the bicycle path on the island and will be a very visible addition to the areas for visitors to stop. Hiking, nature photography, bird watching, and scientific study are allowed. No motorized vehicles or camping are permitted.

About South Bass Island

The 1,588-acre South Bass Island is only eclipsed by Kelleys Island in size among the Ohio Lake Erie islands. It receives the heaviest visitation of any island in the lake, Ohio, or otherwise, thanks to the popular Put-in-Bay community. The year-round residents only number about 130, but their ranks are swollen by thousands of visitors from April through October.

As with the nearby islands, birding can be fabulous on South Bass Island, especially during migration when the trees can be full of songbirds. Tourist traffic is also lighter in early to mid-May and September when migrant numbers and diversity peak. The island is too large to readily cover by foot, but golf carts can be rented, or autos can be brought over via ferry.

Restrooms at South Bass Island State Park and Perry’s Memorial.

Content from Dodge Woods Preserve webpage and South Bass Island Lighthouse webpage