LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION
This 1,676-acre wildlife area lies in the muck farming region of north central Ohio, four miles southwest of the city of Willard. Section Line Road provides access to the area from U.S. Route 224, three miles west of Willard. The area may also be reached by driving west of Bullhead Road from its junction with U.S. Route 224, and continuing 1.5 miles past the village of Celeryville.
Willard Marsh Wildlife Area is quite flat, with little natural drainage. Approximately two-thirds of the area is woodland; the remainder is divided about equally between openland and brushland.
HISTORY AND PURPOSE
Almost 13,000 acres of ancient bogland once surrounded the site of Willard Marsh Wildlife Area. During the last glaciation, some 25,000 years ago, a large, shallow lake was formed. This lake was originally a finger of glacial Lake Erie. As the rich, shallow-water vegetation decayed, plant material gradually filled the huge lake bed and northern bog plants such as sphagnum moss, cranberry, blueberry, royal and cinnamon ferns, and various sedges became established.
Gradual accumulation of bog vegetation resulted in deposits of peat which in some places reached a depth of 15 feet or more. This area was known locally as the “New Haven Marsh” or the “Huron Bog.” Fires have repeatedly burned over many parts of the bogland, and even today are a constant menace during the summer and fall. Most of the original bog has long since been drained for agriculture. In 1942 the Division of Wildlife purchased almost 1,500 acres for a public hunting area, and later obtained additional acreage to bring the total to 1,676 acres.
Present management of the wildlife area includes annual maintenance of open areas and sharecropping agreements with local farmers to aid in controlling plant succession and provide wildlife foods. Fourteen level ditches have been constructed for waterfowl production.
The brushy areas at Willard Marsh provide excellent cover for a substantial number of deer. Moderate numbers of rabbits, quail, pheasants, and fox squirrels can be found here, and furbearers are common. Because of its unique geological history, Willard Marsh may be most valuable in terms of nongame species.
HUNTING AND TRAPPING
Best upland shooting is found between Section Line Road and Honey Creek ditch on the west side of the area. The fields in the northern section, adjacent to Bullhead Road, are also good. Deer are usually found near the level ditches and in the brushy areas on the east and south sides. Trapping is most productive adjacent to water areas.
Further information may be obtained from the Wildlife District Two Office, 952 Lima Avenue, Box A, Findlay, OH 45840; telephone (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 listing of northwest Ohio wildlife areas.