Berlin Lake Birding Drive

Ohio Birding Drives
Ohio Birding Drives are routes for birding trips which can be accomplished in one day, stopping to walk and bird at various eBird hotspots. For each birding drive, a Google map is provided with the route and suggested stops at eBird hotspots. You may save the link to the Google map on your smartphone or tablet, or print a copy on paper to take with you. Links are provided with information about each eBird hotspot. Follow those links for more information about birding each location.

Berlin Lake Birding Drive
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.

This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots around Berlin Lake in Mahoning, Portage, and Stark counties. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.

Berlin Lake lies in the northeastern part of Ohio at the junction of Stark, Portage, and Mahoning counties. The lake is located on and is accessible from US-224 and OH-14 and OH-225. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed Berlin Lake in 1942 on the Mahoning River. The Congressionally authorized purposes were flood control, low flow augmentation, water quality control, and water supply. Berlin Lake has a mean depth of 23 feet with a maximum depth of 55 feet. Annual water level fluctuations can be as much as 20 feet. Mud, sand, and gravel make up most of the bottom composition. Rock ledges can be seen along the original river channel at low pool level.
From Berlin Lake webpage

Stark County

Berlin Lake–Greenbower Bridge
From Alliance, drive north on OH-225 for 2.4 miles. Turn left onto Greenbower Street and go .5 miles.

There is an unmarked and unpaved parking spot on the north side of the road, but it is a rather steep entry. Several vehicles can park there. It may be better to park on the other side of the street along the edge of the Stark Parks walking path. Other fishers and birders often park there. The walking path seems new there or recently upgraded with fresh surface and new signs. There is a marked crosswalk and the walking path continues east, across the bridge and a bit beyond where it then turns north, eventually heading across the dam between Deercreek and Walborn. There is also a sign marking it as a bike lane.
From Chris Lamb

Berlin Lake–Price Street Bridge
Berlin Mudflats
From the Greenbower Bridge, drive east on Greenbower Street for .5 miles. Turn left onto OH-225 and go .8 mile. Turn left onto Price Street and arrive at the Price Street Bridge.

For those interested in shorebirds, the best areas to find them are the mudflats north and south of the Price Street Bridge. To get to this area, go south about 1 mile from the OH-225 bridge and turn west on Price Street. Cross the bridge and enter the large parking area on your right. From this point, one can see several acres of mudflats when conditions are right. By crossing the roadway and hiking the west shoreline, south of the bridge, you can explore over a hundred acres of mudflats. Further southwest, this area opens up to reveal mudflats that cannot be seen from any road. The mudflat areas, both east and west of the OH-225 bridge, are also choice locations for shore birding. This area has also been a very productive region in recent years. Parking here, though, can be difficult as there is no parking available in the immediate vicinity of the bridge. Parking is permitted, however, if you go beyond the “No Parking” signs and walk back to the bridge area. The US-224 bridge area, later in the season, from late August through November, can also be very rewarding. The best strategy here is to park at the west end of the bridge and walk south along the west shoreline. Here you can walk miles of shoreline/mudflats encountering cove after cove of choice habitat. This area has also been a good area for migrating waterfowl, raptors, and gulls.
From Ohio Ornithological Society website

Portage County

Berlin Lake Wildlife Area

From the Price Street Bridge, drive east on Price Street for 1. mile. Turn left onto OH-225 and drive 1 mile. Turn right onto German Church Road and go .4 mile. Arrive at the parking area for Berlin Lake Wildlife Area on the right.

Berlin Lake Wildlife Area, 8,518-acres, is situated in northeast Ohio on lands adjacent to Berlin Lake. The area is scattered, lying both north and south of US-224. The western part can be reached from OH-225, the central portion from OH-14, and the eastern portion from US-224 and Bedell Road.

At full summer pool (elevation 1,024.7 feet), the surface water area of Berlin Lake totals 3,590 acres. Approximately 4,928 land acres are available for public hunting. The topography of the land ranges from flat to gently rolling. The soils are poorly drained and low in productivity.

Nearly 60 percent of the wildlife area consists of second growth hardwoods. The timber stands are mainly pin oak, hickory, elm, ash, and red maple. Swamp white oak, other maples, beech, birch, and sycamore are present in lesser numbers.

The Berlin Lake project was authorized in 1938 to provide flood control and a water supply for industry downstream. Full operation of the project, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was initiated in 1944. In 1946, the Division of Wildlife was granted a license for fish and wildlife management on the 6,935 acres in the project area. The state began additional land acquisition in 1956 for public hunting and currently owns over 1,200 acres.

The wildlife management plan provides for the maintenance and protection of existing woodlands, establishment of regular crop rotations, improvement of open fields for nesting, and establishment of food patches for general wildlife use. Permanent wildlife cover has been provided by planting trees and shrubs along field borders and in odd areas and by establishing brushy field dividers.

The primary purpose of the wildlife area is to provide general public hunting and fishing. Other uses which have become popular include dog training and hunting dog field trials.

Berlin Lake contains diverse sport fish populations which include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, walleye, white crappie, black crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, brown bullhead, and muskellunge.

Cottontail rabbit, ring-necked pheasant, squirrels, woodchuck, raccoon, muskrat, mink, white-tailed deer, and opossum are the principal upland game and fur species. During fall migration, sizable flights of woodcock augment local production. Waterfowl occur on the lake and on the ponds and beaver marshes on the area. Beaver have become fairly common. The impoundments on the area provide excellent habitat not only for beaver, but for many furbearers, shorebirds, and waterfowl. During migration, bald eagles may be seen on Berlin Lake along with a great variety of songbirds.
From Berlin Lake Wildlife Area webpage

Berlin Lake Bike Trail

From Berlin Lake Wildlife Area, drive west on German Church Road for .4 mile Turn right onto OH-225 and drive 2.5 miles. Turn right onto US-224 east and drive 2.5 miles. At the traffic circle take the second exit and stay on US-224 for 1.6 miles. Turn right into the parking area for the Berlin Lake Trail.

The Berlin Lake Trail is a 2.2 multipurpose trail crossing Berlin Lake.

Parking is available on north trail entrance on US-224, approximately 1.5 miles east of Deerfield Circle. Parking for the south trail entrance is located on Kirkbride Road off of OH-14, approximately 2 miles southeast of Deerfield Circle. Turn left on Kirkbride Road.
+ Two trailhead parking areas: 10-car asphalt lot on US-224; 10 car limestone lot on Kirkbride Road.
+ Information kiosks
+ Mile markers
+ Benches
+ Multipurpose limestone trail
+ Nearby Berlin Lake Recreation Area and Wildlife Areas for camping, hunting, and fishing

This 2.2-mile limestone-paved trail was built on the former Lake Erie, Alliance, and Wheeling Railroad, constructed between 1875 and 1877. Ownership changed to New York Central RR then Penn Central RR. The bridge was rebuilt in 1942 with the construction of the Berlin Reservoir damming the Mahoning River. The railroad was abandoned between 1972 and 1976.

Trail development was made possible thanks to a variety of individual and organization donations, fundraising by the Berlin Lake Association, boy scouts, volunteers, state grants and through the cooperation of Deerfield Township, ODOT, US Army Corps of Engineers and ODNR.

The Berlin Lake Trail was initiated by the Berlin Lake Association back in 2006 when members with a vision for the future approached the Portage Park District to partner in its development. The Park District was granted a sublease on the trail from the Ohio Division of Wildlife, who leases the land from the US Army Corps of Engineers. The trail opened in fall 2011.
From Berlin Lake Bike Trail webpage

Berlin Lake Dam

From the Berlin Lake Bike Trail, drive east on US-224 for .5 mile. Turn left onto Bonner Road and drive 1.3 miles. Turn right into the Berlin Lake Dam parking area.

Authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938, Berlin Lake is one of 16 flood control projects in the Pittsburgh District. The project provides flood protection for the Mahoning River Valley as well as for the Beaver and Upper Ohio Rivers. Since its completion in 1943, Berlin has prevented flood damages estimated to be in excess of $1.7 billion. The project has the capability to store the equivalent run-off of 6.9 inches of precipitation from its 249 square mile drainage area.

The project also provides communities downstream with a clean and dependable water supply and has helped to alleviate pollution problems along the Mahoning River Valley. Additionally, Deer Creek Dam, which was built on project lands by the City of Alliance, Ohio, under an agreement with the Department of the Army, provides a reservoir for domestic water supply to nearby communities.
From Berlin Lake and Recreation webpage

Mahoning County

Berlin Lake–Mill Creek Recreation Area Campground

From Berlin Lake Dam, turn left onto Bonner Road and drive 1.3 miles. Turn left onto US-224 and drive 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Bedell Road and go .9 mile. Turn right onto Berlin Station Road and go .4 mile. Arrive at Mill Creek Recreation Area.

Mill Creek Day-Use Park is located on Berlin Lake in northeastern Ohio, where visitors enjoy boating, fishing, hunting, picnicking and camping.

A variety of recreational opportunities is available in the day-use area, the adjacent campground, and nearby wildlife areas.

Berlin Lake is situated on the Mahoning River, where it covers 3,590 acres and offers 70 miles of shoreline. The banks of the lake are gently to moderately sloped, allowing for easy access. Beech and maple trees cover the area, offering shade and beautiful fall color.

A variety of wildlife makes its home around the lake. Visitors delight in viewing nesting ospreys. Bald eagles can occasionally be seen in the area as well.

The lake is a popular location for boating, swimming, and fishing. Berlin Lake is renowned for its excellent walleye fishing. It is one of the few area lakes where natural reproduction of the species occurs. Anglers will also find largemouth and smallmouth bass, muskie, crappie, and bluegill.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources manages over 6,800 acres of project lands for public hunting and wildlife management purposes. Small game species are found in abundance and hunting areas can be easily accessed nearby.
From Mill Creek Day Use Area webpage