LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION
The Resthaven Wildlife Area is at the northern edge of Castalia on the west side of State Route 269. Totaling 2,272 acres, the area includes 444 acres of water. Most of the land is in woodland and shrubby cover. Approximately 90 acres is in crop rotation. Sixteen percent of the land is grassland. More than half the area had been strip mined for marl (a deposit of calcium carbonate or dolomite) prior to purchase by the Division of Wildlife. This mining left a very rough surface which has reverted to woody vegetation and cattails.
HISTORY AND PURPOSE
Resthaven Wildlife Area lies centered in what was originally a wet marl prairie, known by the early settlers as the “Castalia Prairie.” Early accounts record an extensive wet prairie reaching from the present city of Sandusky to Port Clinton. These accounts relate that the grass grew up to seven feet tall and was so thick as to make progress almost impossible.
Land purchase by the state of Ohio began in 1942. The overall objective is to provide public hunting and fishing by managing for species best suited to the land capabilities of the area. The area will be maintained in diversified cover types consisting of cropland interspersed among areas of permanent grass and low shrubs. Present woodlots will be maintained.
HUNTING AND FISHING
The area is popular for rabbit and pheasant hunting. Rails, snipe, woodcock, and a few gallinules also offer hunting opportunities. Waterfowl hunting is usually best early in the season and during periods of rough, windy weather that forces waterfowl inland from Lake Erie and Sandusky Bay. During this rough weather a good spread of decoys is helpful.
Ponds on the area offer fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill and red ear sunfish, crappie, and channel catfish. The most popular fishing ponds are 6, 7, 8, 10, and 11. Pond 8 has a boat ramp and a handicapped accessible fishing pier off SR 269 on road D6. Car top or small trailered boats may be used on the other ponds where anglers can get them to the water. Gasoline motors up to 9.9 horsepower may be used on any of the area ponds; please use good judgment and go slow. All of the area ponds are open to fishing year around, including ice fishing.
The diversity of habitat types and proximity to Sandusky Bay make Resthaven Wildlife Area an ideal location for viewing and enjoying wildlife. Habitat types include woodland, brushland, wetlands, cropfields, open water, and remnants of the “Castalia Prairie.” Wildlife species occupying these habitats range from resident to transient. Bird species ranging from the large wading birds to warblers and mammals common to this region of the state can be found at Resthaven. Moth and butterfly populations on this wildlife area also attract special attention. Service roads and dike systems provide ample foot trails for use in wildlife viewing.
Unusual prairie plants such as big bluestem, little bluestem, Indiangrass, and prairie dock can be found here. Resthaven is the site of Ohio’s largest prairie remnant. This area harbors a number of rare plants and animals.
PUBLIC USE FACILITIES
Access roads and parking areas are situated throughout the area. The interior access roads are closed from the opening of the upland game season until after the spring thaw, as a safety measure and to prevent undue damage to the roads in early spring. A fishing pier accessible to people with disabilities is located near the northwest parking lot on Pond 8. Also, a handicapped accessible boat ramp and a courtesy dock are located at the northeast parking lot on Pond 8. A handicapped access lane is located on the south side of Oxbo Road to provide wildlife recreation opportunities for the mobility impaired.
Additional information may be obtained from the Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area work unit, phone (419) 547-6007; or Wildlife District Two Office, 952 Lima Avenue, Findlay, Ohio 45840, phone (419) 424-5000.
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 northwest Ohio wildlife areas.