Recommended Places

Fernald Nature Preserve

At what was once a nuclear weapons manufacturing plant, Fernald Preserve now features 140 acres of wetland habitat including three lakes, 400 acres of forests and 360 acres of grasslands including tall grass prairies. The total species list is at 240. Garganey, Eurasian Wigeon, Black-necked Stilt, Wilson’s Phalarope, and Golden Eagle are all on the site species list. In addition to a wide range of migratory waterfowl, this area provides excellent viewing opportunities for a variety of prairie species including Dickcissels, Bobolinks, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Eastern Meadowlarks and occasionally Northern Bobwhite. The biowetland has been good for shorebirds during migration when water levels are favorable.

Muscatatuck Wildlife Refuge

The Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1966, and holds 7,802 acres of amazing land. It was Indiana's first National Wildlife Refuge. The name comes from the Muscatatuck River, which means "land of winding waters". 60 percent of the total area is comprised of converted farmland. There are eight hiking trails, a 4-mile driving tour, two pioneer cemeteries, and a log cabin of historical significance.

The primary wildlife protected in the refuge are waterfowl and other birds, including mating pairs of bald eagles. Re-introduced trumpeter swans visit the refuge in the winter. Also migrating tundra swans(Cygnus columbianus) winter at Muscatatuck every year, usually a month or so before Christmas. Whooping cranes and sand hill cranes can be seen during migratory periods. A remnant of non-venomous northern copperbelly water snake (Nerodia erythrogaster neglecta) still exists in the refuge. River otter, deer, quail, and rabbit can be found in some areas

Caesar Creek State Park

The 4,700-acre park and adjacent 2,500-acre wildlife area was once home to several Native American cultures. Earthworks on the nearby Little Miami River are among the largest and best-known Hopewell structures. The hilltop enclosure used for ceremonial gatherings is surrounded by 3 miles of earthen walls. This indigenous culture lived in the region during a period from 300 BC to 600 AD. Later, the Fort Ancient Native Americans lived on the site from 1200 AD to 1600 AD. Woodland tribes such as the Wyandot, Miami, and Shawnee also called southwestern Ohio home. Old Chillicothe, where the famous warrior Tecumseh was said to have been born, was in Greene County, just north of the park. The Caesar Creek area was named for a slave captured by the Shawnee on a raid along the Ohio River. Caesar lived in this area during the time Blue Jacket was war chief and was said to have accompanied him on many raids. Many of these Native American villages were located along an ancient trail, part of which follows the ridgeline on the eastern side of the Caesar Creek valley. The trail, named Bullskin Trace, was used by settlers in the early 1800s. Later, the trail became part of the Underground Railroad used by runaway slaves to reach safe houses operated by Quakers in the area.

The forests of the area are comprised of over 65 species of plants. Several major communities thrive in the area. A northern flood plain forest is found in the valley, while mixed associations of oak-hickory and beech-maple woodlands clothe the ridges and hillsides. Red-tail hawk, white-tail deer, raccoon, red fox, and box turtle make the park their home.

There is a Pioneer Village with a collection of over 15 log cabins and other structures that are open during special events. The buildings include a Quaker meetinghouse, a broom shed, a pioneer school house, blacksmith shop, carpenter shop, toll house and many family houses.

Shawnee Lookout

Shawnee Lookout is well known for its historical Springhouse School and Log Cabin and Native American archaeological earthworks. The park's nature trails, including the 1.3-mile Blue Jacket, 2.0-mile Little Turtle and the 1.4-mile Miami Fort trail, offer spectacular views of the Ohio River and Great Miami River valleys.

Ulmansiek Wildlife Sanctuary is a 263-acre of seasonally flooded riparian habitat located along the Great Miami River. It is noted for the wide variety of migratory waterfowl that use it as a resting area. An additional 914 acres of wetlands are located adjacent to the park and is protected through conservation

The Shawnee Lookout Archeological District is composed of forty-six archaeological sites spread out over an area of 2,000 acres. Thirty-four of these sites are in the 1,000-acre Shawnee Lookout Park. The combination of river bottoms and wooded hillsides in Shawnee Lookout made it a highly attractive site for prehistoric settlement. As a result, the lands included in the district have a long record of aboriginal residency: artifacts found in the district's sites span a range of ten thousand years. These artifacts represent many cultures, including various Archaic peoples, the Hopewell tradition, and other Woodland period peoples. Among the artifacts found at one of the sites are a wide range of biological remains, such as bird bones, fish bones, walnuts, turtle shells, and deer bones.