Rock Creek, Ohio 44084
Grand River Conservation Campus webpage
Grand River Conservation Campus trail map and guide
Morgan Swamp Preserve webpage
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The Grand River Conservation Campus is a land shaped by the generations of people who have lived and worked here.
Over a century ago, what we today call the Grand River Conservation Campus was a large cattle and swine farm owned by the Callander family. An old piece of sandstone with the Callander name still marks the entrance of the Campus and now serves as a reminder of the past. The Callander farm extended hundreds of acres and included what is now Pallister State Nature Preserve to the west. In the early 1900s, Judge Smythe from Illinois bought the property from the Callander family to use as his private hunting retreat. After that, and for many decades, the property was used as a religious retreat. For a time, it was owned by a Jewish community called The Workman’s Circle. Later, while owned by the Cleveland-based City Mission, the Campus became a Christian retreat that included horseback riding, ropes courses, and rock climbing.
Today, as part of The Nature Conservancy’s Morgan Swamp Preserve, the Grand River Conservation Campus remains a place where people can enjoy nature through a number of passive recreation opportunities. Visitors will find a quiet campus of facilities and grounds used for environmental education and restoration, with a beautiful backdrop of unique habitats, rare plants, and abundant wildlife. In fact, not far from the gymnasium is the hemlock yellow birch forest community, one of the rarest swamp forest communities in Ohio.
The Campus offers a number of amenities that are open to the public, including nature trails, an Accessible fishing pier at Bliss Pond, a canoe/kayak launch on the State Designated Wild and Scenic Grand River, and a children’s playground. There are also opportunities for picnicking in a pavilion as well as the rental of a gymnasium for athletic activities and events.
From Grand River Conservation Campus webpage
About Morgan Swamp Preserve
At more than 1,600 acres, The Nature Conservancy’s Morgan Swamp Preserve is one of the largest privately protected forested wetlands in Ohio. The swamp is home to an abundance of wetlands including swamps, bogs, beaver ponds and vernal pools. A rich diversity of plants and animals call it home, from the beautiful white calla lily to the tiny four-toed salamander hidden among the vernal pools.
Morgan Swamp Preserve is part of a greater wetland system called the Grand River Lowlands, which got its start some 12,000 years ago when portions of northeastern Ohio’s Ashtabula and Trumball counties were occupied by a large glacial lake. This glacial lake deposited a thick layer of silt and clay ranging in depth from 5 to 50 feet. Watertight, these clay soils resulted in the formation of the swamp forest, marsh, sphagnum bogs and sedge meadows that exist in the area today.
These wetlands are critical to the health of the state-designated “Wild and Scenic” Grand River, an important tributary to Lake Erie, which is a source of drinking water for millions of people
Directions to Grand River Conservation Campus
From the north: From I-90, travel south on OH-534 for about 7 miles to its junction with OH-166 and Footville-Richmond Road. Travel east on Footville-Richmond Road for 2 miles to Windsor-Mechanicsville Road. Travel 1.8 miles south on Windsor-Mechanicsville Road to Callender Road. Travel 1 mile east on Callender Road to 3973 Callender Road. Driveway on north side of road before (to the west of) bridge
From the south: From US-6, take OH-45 north for about 2 miles to Callender Road. Travel west on Callender Road for about 1.5 miles to 3973 Callender Road. Driveway on north side of the road before (to the west of) bridge.
From Morgan Swamp Preserve webpage
No restroom facilities.