The entire boardwalk trail at Cedar Bog Nature Preserve sits above the wetland and passes through large patches of natural wildflowers and deep forested areas. There are chances to see rare and endangered plants and animals, as well as groundwater bubbling to the surface of the park. Below this article are just some of the sights to see. (Story & photos by Matt Bayman) 

A Magical Place Close to Home

- Cedar Bog Nature Preserve

URBANA - The word that best describes Cedar Bog Nature Preserve is... magical.

It's a place where clear water can be seen bubbling up through the ground; where rare, endangered plants and animals live; and where every color of the rainbow can be seen during a one-mile hike on the park's boardwalk trail, which is wheelchair friendly.

The nature preserve is located about 25 miles from most of Miami County (just south of Urbana) and is open daily from dawn to dusk. However, the Education Center is only open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.  

The boardwalk trail is the focal point of any visit. It passes through amazing landscapes that can't be seen anywhere else in Ohio.

For instance, Cedar Bog is the only place in the state where northern white cedars grow. The trail passes through deep patches of them.

Another area passes by long sheets of pumpkin pie-colored mud where groundwater is rising to the surface and forming new streams.

If you're quiet, and a little bit lucky, you might even see an endangered spotted turtle, or even a massasauga rattlesnake or tortoise-shell butterfly.

What you'll certainly see are wildflowers. Cedar Bog ranks the highest of any site in Ohio on the "Ohio Floristic Diversity Index." This is because of its great diversity of plants and why the site was chosen as the first nature preserve in Ohio to be purchased with state money.

Luckily for layman like myself, there are numerous interpretive signs located along the boardwalk trail. They not only name and point out the different wildflowers and animal habitat, but also explore the geology and history of the area.

By the end of the hike you will have seen and learned many new things, and if you're a photographer, you'll have some great pictures. Many of the wildflowers are located directly next to the trail, which allows for beautiful close-up shots.

For an even greater learning experience, the nature preserve hosts a variety of events each year, including guided hikes and an upcoming Halloween event for kids. A list of upcoming events can be found HERE.

There is an admission charged, which helps maintain the park. It is $5 for adults; $4 for students; and free for children 5 and under. (No pets are allowed on the boardwalk). The cost is well worth it!

Plan your visit at www.cedarbognp.org.

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