Walk through mature hardwood and hemlock forests and explore the wildflower covered slopes, immersing ourselves in the magnificence of the beautiful old growth forest habitat. Orchid expert Ken Mettler will lead this tour of the Mercer Woods old Growth Forest Preserve that will focus on identifying native wildflowers and spring orchids of the Hocking Hills region. We expect to see at least 4 or 5 orchids in bloom.
Mercer Woods is the core portion of 4 properties and over 180 acres conserved by AOA in scenic Misty Valley. Located in the northern extent of the Hocking Hills, this area is part of AOA’s Hocking River Conservation Corridor initiative. The site includes characteristic Hocking Hills landscape features including sandstone outcrops, a small gorge and headwater streams and low waterfalls in the several ravines. There are a wide variety of habitats and numerous wildflowers – some still in bloom. Mercer Woods is home to the largest trees and the most impressive old growth forest found on any of AOA’s many preserves. The highlight is a couple of nearly 5-foot diameter oaks.
Afterwards, feel free to wander the preserve on your own. Participants are invited to stay and roam the site with AOA volunteers to help remove the garlic mustard that is invading portions of the site and choking out the wildflowers. We will provide bags.
The Mercer Woods Walk and other AOA events are free and open to the public. This activity will be held rain or shine – so please come prepared and dress appropriately for the weather and hiking on slopes.
Time: Meet at 10:00 a.m. The Walk will last approximately two hours+ but stay as long as you like.
What to Bring: Lunch, snacks and/or drinks of your choice. Feel free to bring a lunch and enjoy the peace and serenity of the deep forest environs. Insect repellant is recommended.
Location: Mercer Woods is located at 9016 Buckeye Troxel Road, just southeast of Sugar Grove. Look for AOA signs and volunteers who will be directing parking.