A Growing Population
Plenty of wildlife already calls Columbia Reservation home. Typical species include muskrat, deer, skunk, rabbit, raccoon, frogs and turtles. Some unique mammal species include a healthy population of mink, beaver, least shrew, and the secretive star-nosed mole. A huge number of spiny soft-shelled turtles are often seen basking in the sun in early spring on the sandy shoreline. There’s also a growing bird population including waterfowl, raptors and songbirds. Some notable species include pileated woodpecker, red-shouldered hawk, herons, and barred owl.
Predominant flora includes rushes and sedges—all of which are common to and indicate hydric or water-saturated soils. Other herbaceous species include ironweed (distinguished by a rich purple flower), wild hyacinth, tickseed, wing-stem, bur-reed, bottled gentian, and purple vervain. Tree species that are typical of wetland areas include box elder, pin oak, dogwood, bur oak, black walnut, willow, sycamore, wild black cherry, sassafras, lots of buttonbush and even some sizeable stands of paw paw.
Trails, Ponds and Waterways
Like so many of the Lorain County Metro Parks, Columbia Reservation offers something for everyone, from man-made to natural. Primarily a wetland reservation, Columbia has 1 mile of paved trail, 2-1/2 miles crushed limestone, and 3/4 mile mowed unimproved trail. Although parts of the reservation are wooded, with more tree plantings in the works, the park in general is characterized by open, scenic views of waterways and wildlife. The trails provide many views of the park including ponds, marsh, meadows, and woods. There are also several overlooks to enjoy these beautiful views. Ask for one of our self guided trail maps and learn about the flora and fauna along the Heron Trail. The trails are a great place to walk, jog, rollerblade and walk the dog—though some parts are off limits to dogs out of respect for the wildlife.
About Columbia Reservation
This 409 acre reservation was opened in August of 2003. As a wetland reservation, Columbia hosts a number of created ponds built around waterways near the west branch of the Rocky River. With miles of trails, a playground, miniature golf, concession stand, outdoor movie theatre, and a shelter, you can bring the whole family out for some fun!
A Wetland Restored
Columbia reservation is the result of one of Northern Ohio’s largest wetland mitigation projects—285 acres of which are restored wetland. Hydric soils already present due to the flood plain and close proximity of west branch of the Rocky River, helped accommodate the conversion back to wetland.