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  • At-a-Glance
  • What to Look For
  • Noteworthy Rarities
  • Natural Features
  • Local Resources
  • 47 - Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve

    Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Natural Areas and Preserves
    2715 Cleveland Road W.
    Huron, OH 44839


    Public Access

    Open daily, dawn until dusk


    Hiking Trails, Restrooms, Checklist Available, Handicap Accessible Trails, Sightings Board

    GPS Coordinates

    N 41° 24'29.85"; W 81° 36'9.42"

    Driving Directions

    Use the Rye Beach Road exit from State Route 2 and proceed west approximately 0.5 mile to the preserve entrance.

    What to Look For

    This 465-acre nature preserve is one of Lake Erie's "hidden" jewels. It is often eclipsed by legendary birding sites to the west, such as Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, but on a great day Sheldon Marsh can rival just about any spot on the lakefront for numbers and diversity of birds. Spring and fall migration can bring scores of songbirds, including the possibility of all 37 species of warblers that occur annually in Ohio.

    Vehicles cannot go beyond the parking lot at the gate, but a flat paved road provides easy access to Sheldon's habitats and Lake Erie. The road is about a mile long and terminates at the lake. There are a few observation platforms along the way that overlook the marsh. A short boardwalk near the road's end offers access to the mile long barrier beach. This beach is always worth scanning, as gulls, terns, and shorebirds often roost on its sands.

    Expected breeding birds include Bald Eagle, Green Heron, Yellow-throated Vireo, Eastern Kingbird and many others. Conifers near the parking lot have harbored Northern Saw-whet Owl in winter.

    Noteworthy Rarities

    Golden-winged Warblers are seen with some regularity, and Kirtland's Warbler has appeared at least once. There are records of Piping Plover; in fact much of the beach is marked as restricted access as Sheldon's barrier beach is the longest along Ohio's Lake Erie shoreline, and hopes persist that this species might someday attempt to nest here (last Ohio nesting record dates to 1942).

    Natural Features

    Birders braving late summer mosquitoes will be treated to a fine display of cardinal-flower (Lobelia cardinalis). The beach and adjacent marsh supports at least a dozen species of rare plants, including the tumbleweed-like beach wormwood (Artemisia campestris). Watch for basking turtles in the ditch and wetlands along the abandoned road/walkway; rare Blanding's turtles are often seen. Their lemon-yellow chin cinches the identification. Eastern fox snakes are sometimes seen around the rocks of the breakwalls at the end of the road.