Press release from the Ohio Bicentennial Commission.  See Darby recognition on Page 2.



For Immediate Release

July 18, 2003

– Media Advisory –

Ohio’s natural heritage to be recognized

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Bicentennial Commission will highlight significant natural sites in Ohio this July. Ten Ohio historical markers related to the topic will be recognized or dedicated over the next two weeks.

From the tall grass prairies of the northwest to the hemlock ravines of the southeast, Ohio abounds in both unique ecosystems and preserved remnants of environments once common across state. Natural history has played an important role in the human exploration, settlement and modern industrialization of Ohio. The ten natural Ohio historical marker sites are representative of the state’s diverse native land areas and wildlife.

Natural Ohio is the thirteenth of 21 topics to receive historical markers from the Ohio Bicentennial Commission’s Ohio Heritage Marker program. During the next four months, hundreds of cast-metal markers, measuring 4 feet by 4 feet, will recognize significant Ohio people, places and events. Made possible by generous corporate support, the markers will be dedicated in two-week periods across the state during 2003. International Paper Company and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources made the Natural Ohio markers possible.

Natural Ohio marker dedications are:

–Killdeer Plains
July 22, 9:30 a.m., Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area Headquarters, 19100 County Highway 115, Harpester, 1.5 miles south of State Route 194, Wyandot County.

Killdeer Plains, one of the state’s few remaining prairies, is representative of a wet prairie that once covered more than 30,000 acres in western Ohio. It is home to the eastern Massasauga rattlesnake, the killdeer shore bird and many other unique species.

–Magee Marsh
July 22, 2 p.m., Magee Marsh Headquarters/Sportsmen’s Migratory Bird Center, 13229 State Route 2, Oak Harbor, Ottawa County.

Magee Marsh is the only remaining part of a dense swamp forest that once covered parts of Ohio and Indiana. Ancient Lake Maumee was drained for agriculture between 1860 and 1865. The marsh, which sustains a variety of wetland wildlife, is all that is left of the Great Black Swamp.

–Old Man’s Cave

July 23, 2 p.m., Old Man’s Cave, Route 664, South Bloomingville, Hocking County.

Old Man’s Cave is a prominent part of Ohio’s geology, which was formed by streams and groundwater carving through sandstone bedrock. The cave was named for a recluse, Richard Rowe, who lived there during the 1800s. Now a part of the Hocking Hills State Park, the area is home to hastern hemlock and Canada yew trees.

– Old Woman Creek
July 24, 10 a.m., Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve, 3 miles east of Huron on U.S. Route 6, Erie County.

Old Woman Creek is Ohio’s only national estuarine sanctuary, a place where chemically distinct bodies of water meet and mix. Its ecosystem features marshlands, sand beaches and upland forests with nearly 300 species of birds, 40 fish species and hundreds of native plants.




JULY 18, 2003

–Lake Erie
July 25, 1 p.m., Marblehead Lighthouse, Port Clinton

Lake Erie is the twelfth largest freshwater lake in the world, 210 miles long, 57 miles wide, 871miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 210 feet. Lake Erie served early settlers as a passage for exploration and settlement and has since become a link for Great Lakes commercial fishing. It is used for recreation and tourism, and is an abundant fishing area.

–Clear Fork Gorge

Media Day - July 28, 10 a.m., Mohican State Park, 3116 State Route 3, Loudonville, Ashland County.

Clear Fork Gorge was formed more than fourteen thousand years ago by glacial meltwater cutting through sandstone bedrock. The seclusion of the gorge has preserved a white pine and eastern hemlock forest community. Other tree species – sycamore, beech, ash, tulip, oak and maple – can also be found near the gorge.

–Salt Fork Wildlife Area

July 29, 1:30 p.m., Salt Fork State Park, U.S. Route 22, Winterset, Guernsey County.

Salt Fork is the home to many species of Ohio’s wildlife, white-tailed deer, Canada geese, wild turkey, beaver and otter. By the early 1900s much of this wildlife had become scarce because of the invasion of agriculture and industry. Native animals were reintroduced to this 12,000-acre area, and they continue to thrive today.

– Clifton Gorge

July 30, 10 a.m., State Route 343 parking lot, Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, Clifton.

Clifton Gorge dates back to the Silurian Period, 400 million years ago. This canyon was created by meltwater from a retreating glacier that cut into dolomite and shale bedrock. The gorge is the home to the red baneberry bush, which is rare in the state. During the 1800s, the Little Miami River powered mills, paper factories and breweries.

–Spring Valley Wildlife Area

July 31, 10:30 a.m., Spring Valley Wetlands Complex, Houston Road, Spring Valley.

Another example of Ohio’s wetlands, Spring Valley is part of the 10 percent of the state’s wetlands that have not been drained or filled. This area was once a commercial fur farm, but now is the home to wildlife and waterfowl, including more than 230 species of birds.

–Big Darby and Little Darby Creeks

Dedicated July 12, Battelle Metropark, Columbus, Franklin County.

Big Darby and Little Darby Creeks were important food and transportation sources for natives for thousands of years. These creeks provide modern recreational opportunities and sustain more than 100 species of fish and 40 species of freshwater mollusks.

The Ohio Historical Marker program began in 1953 for the state’s sesquicentennial. The program has been given new life and emphasis leading up to Ohio’s 200th birthday.


Leslie Walker, communications and programs officer, 614-995-7658
Fred Stratmann, communications director, 614-466-3531


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