Jackson Bog State Nature Preserve

Jackson Bog State Nature Preserve is a 58-acre property containing a fen at the foot of a sandy kame in northwestern Stark County near Massillon (google maps). It is owned in part by the Jackson Township Local Board of Education and the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. Dedicated in 1980, it has a well-maintained trail system with a fantastic boardwalk that was updated in the early 2000s. The preserve serves as a habitat for several rare species, many of which can be seen from the boardwalk and associated trails. It is open to the public and picnic areas are adjacent to the trail entrance. Carnivorous plant taxa that can be found at this site in abundance include Sarracenia purpurea and Drosera rotundifolia.

Getting there:
The preserve is located at 7984 Fulton Drive NW, Massillon, OH 44646. From Interstate 77 in Canton, take exit 107A for Fulton Drive NW (Ohio 687) and head northwest on Fulton Drive NW for about six miles. The entrance to the preserve is on the left where the Jackson Community Park sign appears. You may park in the lot to the right near the baseball field behind the two buildings closer to the road. The entrance to the trail system is just to the south of this lot toward the trees at the edge of the field.

What to see:
Follow the trail to the boardwalk, which winds its way around the edge of the fen and to a nice overlook area. From here you can see the broad field of a marl flat with occasional hummocks of Sphagnum where the Sarracenia purpurea grow. Continuing on the boardwalk, you will find interpretive signs explaining various features of the fen, including the bulrush meadow. There are not very many carnivorous plants here, and those that do reveal themselves to you are some distance from the boardwalk, making close examination and photography less than ideal. By no means should you wander from the established trail and boardwalk system; any disturbance of the fen system can do long-lasting damage. Of the pitcher plants in view, there are likely less than 100 in total. However, do not be discouraged from visiting this wonderful example of a boreal fen system with varying water depths leading to many different kinds plant communities all along this 2 km walk.

Do come prepared with water for your walk and with plenty of bug spray for the biting flies and mosquitoes.

Resources and links:
Jackson Bog State Nature Preserve website at the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves.
♦ Hamilton, Robert IV. 2010. Observations of pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea L.) phytotelm conditions from two populations in Jackson Bog, Stark County, OH. Ohio Journal of Science, 110(5): 98-103. [pdf]

Gallery:

Entrance sign to Jackson Community Park Boardwalk at Jackson Bog
Marl fen Entrance sign to the trail system
Pitcher plants Deeper water
Lobelia kalmii Pitcher plant fen
Dodder, a parasitic plant A clearwing moth visiting a thistle