Tucked up in the far north-west corner of Ohio stands a forest comprised of 100 acres of virgin timber and one of the most well preserved remaining sections of the Great Black Swamp. This is Goll Woods State Nature Preserve, just beyond Archbold, OH.
The Goll family immigrated from France in the 1830s, settled this land, and kept this section of land untouched and in the family until the 1960s when the family gave the land to the State of Ohio to keep as a Preserve.
This incredible area is home to trees aging up to 400 yrs, with one of the oldest oak trees dying of old age in 2006.
Along with the great old trees, this preserve boasts a fantastic spring wildflower display. On the property there is still the original homestead and the family cemetery - home and barn are being restored and will hopefully become an education center for the area.
We arrived in the early evening, it had been a hot day so a walk in an old dense forest sounded like a nice cool-off. We were a little surprised there were no other cars in the parking area, but as far out in the middle of nowhere as it was it made sense. We started down the trail debating if we wanted to do one of the longer trails or just keep it to the short one (mind you this is still day one, we had just arrived from oak openings and Magee that morning). About 50 ft into the park our decision had been made to take the short route. Knowing ahead of time we'd be walking in a forested wetland we took proper precautions - long pants, heavy duty bug spray, the works - we were not prepared for the type of mosquito that made the great black swamp its home! These were the fastest, most cunning, and aggressive mosquito we've ever encountered - as we speed walked the mile trail we could see an actual cloud of mosquitoes following us, completely undeterred by the bug spray. We would sacrifice ourselves from time to time though, as the majesty of the trees would captivate us. These trees are truly giant, and to think just how much has happened in their lifetimes, it's humbling.
I was able to capture a few shots of the trail, the blurred one I feel captures our experience best though.
I would definitely like to come back here, but in early spring for the wildflowers and before the mosquitoes.
Reading an article from the local news paper about the park, this quote stood out to me "In the summer, the trails are especially empty because of a vicious tide of mosquitoes that sweeps through the woods."
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Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who spends her time exploring and learning about the unique history and nature in North East Ohio. She lives with her husband and cat in Wooster where she is also a family portrait and nature photographer as well as grows and cans her own vegetables. When she's not doing that, yoga and embroidery (not at the same time) are other things she enjoys.