LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION
The Grand River Wildlife Area is in northeast Ohio, just east of West Farmington. State Route 88 bisects the area in an east-west direction, and State Route 534 borders the area on the west. Trumbull County Roads 217, 213, and 233 run parallel to Route 534 through the area.
The 7,453-acre area is flat to gently rolling. Twelve ponds, numerous beaver impoundments, and over thirty man-made marshes can be found here. The Grand River and five tributary streams meander through the wildlife area, subjecting much of it to flooding during heavy rains and spring thaws. About 46 percent of the area is second growth hardwoods, 49 percent is openland, cropland, and brushland, and 5 percent is wetland and water.
HISTORY AND PURPOSE
Purchase of land for this wildlife area began in 1956. A portion of the purchased land was cropland; today, much of it is in crop rotation to benefit wildlife. The primary purpose of the wildlife area is to provide public hunting and fishing. Other uses such as hiking and bird watching have become increasingly popular. Several man-made marshes have been impounded, totaling approximately 300 acres. The water levels in these wetlands are managed for waterfowl habitat during the fall migration; they also provide nesting sites for local migratory species.
FISH AND WILDLIFE
White-tailed deer, wild turkeys, upland wildlife, and waterfowl are the principal game species. Cottontail rabbits, fox squirrels, ring-necked pheasants, and most of Ohio’s furbearers are common. Raccoons are especially plentiful, and woodcock and snipe frequent the area.
Panfish, bass, and chain pickerel are the major species of pond fish. Walleyes and suckers are present in the river, as well as carp and panfish.
Many kinds of songbirds can be found throughout the area, especially during spring and fall migrations. The wide variety of habitats makes Grand River a primary choice of bird watchers.
A three-quarter mile wildlife observation trail including a boardwalk across a beaver impoundment can be found on Township Road 213. Beaver, river otter, and a great variety of songbirds may be observed.
HUNTING, TRAPPING, AND FISHING
Forest game—deer, turkey, and squirrels—are the most popular game species, in addition to waterfowl. Upland game hunting is good for rabbits, pheasants, and woodcock. Night hunting is excellent for the abundant raccoons. Trapping opportunity is widespread, especially in the many wetland areas.
Spring offers good fishing for walleyes and suckers in the Grand River. Carp and most panfish can be caught all season long. Pond fishing is fair to good for pickerel, bass, and panfish.
On this area, and on private lands to the north, are extensive swamp forests which were once typical of much of northeast Ohio. This portion of the Grand River valley is one of the largest areas of semi-wilderness remaining in heavily populated northeast Ohio, and probably the only public hunting area in the vicinity where even the experienced outdoorsman should take precautions against becoming lost.
The pristine, meandering Grand River and its tributaries provide good habitat for colonies of beavers. The combination of beaver impoundments, good water quality, and a large variety of fish species has made it possible to reintroduce river otters here. During the winter of 1986-87 an initial experimental release was made in an attempt to establish a reproducing population of otters in the Grand River watershed. Another release was made in spring 1988. Current river otter populations have expanded so dramaticaly throughout the state that their endangered species status has been removed. In 2005 Ohio initiated its first river otter trapping season.
PUBLIC USE FACILITIES
Parking lots are strategically situated throughout the area. Parking in other areas is prohibited.
A bird dog field trial area is maintained near the southeast end of the wildlife area. Field trials may be held there by permit holding clubs during the field trial season (September - October, March - April). Other compatible uses of the wildlife area are permitted in the field trial area during the field trail season and throughtout the year.
A hand trap range is located on State Route 88, east of State Route 534. Only shot shells and clay targets are permitted.
A supervised 60-bench Class A rifle and pistol range is located at 6693 Hoffman Norton Rd; Bristolville, OH 44402, north of State Route 88. A permit is required.
Further information may be obtained from the Area Manager, Grand River Wildlife Area, 6686 SR 534, West Farmington, Ohio 44491; telephone (330) 889-3280 or from the Wildlife District Three Office, 912 Portage Lakes Drive, Akron, Ohio 44319; telephone (330) 644-2293. Grand River Target Range (330) 889-3524.
TURN IN A POACHER
Ohio’s TIP, “Turn In a Poacher,” program is helping to curtail poaching throughout the state. TIP is designed to involve the public in reporting wildlife violations. Citizens who observe wildlife violations should call the TIP toll-free hotline, 1-800-POACHER.
Return to list of northeast Ohio wildlife areas.