Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve - 465 acres
Barrier beach and associated unusual plants; excellent bird watching during spring and fall.
Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve and contiguous wetlands comprise some of the last remaining undeveloped stretches of shoreline in the Sandusky Bay region. As Ohio's once expansive coastal wetland habitat continues to disappear in the face of encroaching development, the importance of Sheldon Marsh increases immensely.
Preservation of habitat is seen as the key to survival of wild plant and animal communities, and this preserve contains many types of habitats such as old field, hardwood forest, woodland swamp, cattail marsh, barrier sand beach and open water-lake. All are relicts of the lake-marsh-forest ecosystem which originally encompassed thousands of acres along Lake Erie's western basin.
This preserve is known to attract nearly 300 bird species and provides habitat for many kinds of wildflowers. Spring is one of the best times to visit the marsh. From the middle of April into June, the woodland floor is covered with blooming wildflowers.
Dutchman's breeches, cut-leaved toothwort and spring beauties are followed by trout lilies, trilliums, wild ginger and wild geraniums.
Spring migration brings a variety of neotropical and shorebirds to Sheldon Marsh . Before crossing Lake Erie these birds stop briefly to rest and feed among the lush vegetation of the forest. Along the barrier sand beach, numerous shorebirds are frequently seen searching for food at the water's edge.
Summer residents include great blue herons, red-tailed hawks, black-crowned night-herons, wood ducks, common terns, woodcocks, great horned owls and numerous songbirds.
Perhaps the most spectacular summer event is the blooming of the cardinal flower in the woodland swamp. Often described as America's most beautiful wildflower, its tall and brilliant red spikes are a magnificent sight.
Located in Erie County, approximately 2 miles west of Huron on U.S. Route 6. Use the Rye Beach Road exit from SR 2 and proceed west approximately .5 mile to the preserve entrance. Parking, trail system and observation deck are available.
A 1-mile paved trail, accessible by wheelchair, leads from the parking lot to the barrier beach.