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  • At-a-Glance
  • What to Look For
  • Natural Features
  • Local Resources
  • 45 - Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve

    Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife
    2514 Cleveland Road East
    Huron, OH 44839


    Public Access

    Open daily, dawn until dusk


    Hiking Trails, Restrooms (during visitor center hours), Visitors Center, Checklist Available, Sightings Board, Outdoor Feeders, Wildlife Observation Window

    GPS Coordinates

    N 41° 22'47.04"; W 82° 30'25.24"

    Driving Directions

    From State Route 2, take the State Route 61 exit and turn north toward the lake. State Route 61 dead ends at U.S. Route 6. Turn left at the flashing red light. Old Woman Creek Reserve is about 1 mile ahead on the left.

    What to Look For

    An estuary is an enclosed water body fed by one or more rivers, and with a direct connection to the sea or large lake. There are 27 estuarine reserves in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's estuarine reserve system. Old Woman Creek is the only national estuarine reserve in the Great Lakes and is also unique in that it is the only one not located to an ocean.

    Old Woman Creek encompasses 574 acres, with the shallow estuary the centerpiece of the reserve. A small barrier beach buffers the estuary from Lake Erie. Other habitats include woodlands, old fields, and tributary streams. An outstanding visitor's center is full of interesting interpretive displays, and offers an overlook of the estuary. A mile long trail circles through most of the reserve's habitats.

    Bald Eagles nest nearby and are often in evidence. Migrant waterfowl can be abundant in season, and this is a good spot to watch for migrant raptors following the Lake Erie shoreline. Good numbers and diversity of songbirds can occur in both spring and fall migration, and the reserve supports at least 74 species of breeding birds. Noteworthy among the latter are Sedge Wren and Northern Mockingbird (neither is annual).

    Natural Features

    At least ten species of state-listed rare plants have been found in the preserve, including four uncommon sedges to entice serious botanists. Eastern fox snakes can sometimes be seen around the estuary. The visitor's center—formally known as the Mike DeWine Center for Coastal Wetland Studies—contains many educational exhibits about Lake Erie, and information about Old Woman Creek.

    Local Resources

    Lake Erie Shores & Islands
    Ohio Ornithological Society
    Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve

    Nearby Lake Access Sites

    Joppa Road Access. A tiny, 0.16-acre lake access that provides a view of Lake Erie. Located at the northern terminus of Joppa Road, just north of U.S. Route 6, about 3.4 miles east of Old Woman Creek.

    Risden Road Access. A 0.14-acre lake access at the northern terminus of Risden Road, nearly 2.5 miles east of the Joppa Road Access, off the north side of U.S. Route 6.