By 1812Blockhouse

Nestled at the intersection of Bunkerhill North and Tugend Roads in Worthington Township, Tugend Prairie spans a highly diverse 27.6-acre property. This sanctuary is part of the Richland County Park District and is a testament to natural restoration and biodiversity. With its hilly, rolling terrain marked by 95 feet of elevation change, the prairie offers visitors a glimpse into the landscape shaped by historic glaciers.

Location and Access

Location:
3583 Tugend Rd
Butler, OH 44822

Trail Hours:
Every Day: Dawn – Dusk

Visitors can access Tugend Prairie via a small gravel parking area off Tugend Road, located 0.2 miles west, or a 1/4-mile gravel lane off Bunkerhill Road. It is important to note that when accessing the preserve via the gravel lane, drivers should stick to the wheel tracks, as the ground on either side is often soft.

Diverse Ecosystem

Tugend Prairie is home to an impressive variety of species and habitats. Over 469 plant species, 138 bird species, 45 butterfly species, 25 mammal species, 6 reptile species, and 14 amphibian species have been documented on the property. The diverse habitats include:

  • 12 acres of tallgrass prairie
  • 8 acres of maturing woods with ravines and a sandstone outcropping (no trails yet)
  • 2 intermittent streams
  • Moist sedge meadows
  • A small seep-fed pond
  • Pine woods
  • Shrub thickets
  • Successional meadows

This range of habitats, all within 27 acres, creates a rich tapestry of life that visitors can explore via nearly 1.75 miles of nature trails.

A Constructed Sanctuary

Remarkably, Tugend Prairie is a constructed nature sanctuary, showcasing what can be achieved through thoughtful landscaping with native plant species and diligent land management. Except for the 8-acre woods, the entire property was a crop field as recently as 2001. The transformation into the diverse ecosystem present today was accomplished by its previous owners over 16 years.

Trails and Scenic Views

The Clear Fork Valley Scenic Trail, a rustic, back-country hiking trail maintained by the North Central Ohio Land Conservancy (NCOLC), runs along Tugend Prairie’s western border and can be accessed via three trail spurs. This trail offers over 8 miles of scenic hiking routes through various NCOLC preserves, including Tugend Prairie.

One notable feature of the prairie is the 1,353-foot “Pleasant Hill,” the highest elevation along the trail between Butler and Malabar Farm. This elevation offers panoramic views of the rolling terrain and is a highlight for hikers and nature enthusiasts.

Conservation and Recreation

Tugend Prairie is part of NCOLC’s extensive network of protected nature preserves, which span over 1,600 acres in and around Richland County. The preserve’s creation and ongoing maintenance highlight the importance of conservation efforts and provide a model for sustainable land management.

Visitors to Tugend Prairie can immerse themselves in a landscape teeming with life, offering opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, and simply enjoying the natural beauty of Ohio’s prairies. With 69 bird species recorded on the eBird hotspot for Tugend Road Prairie, it is a haven for birdwatchers and nature photographers alike.

For those planning a visit, a printable map is available for download here.

Source: Richland County Park District; Image by Falkenpost from Pixabay

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