Join Jim Bissell, curator of botany at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, on an off-trail hike to the museum’s Koelliker Fen, a unique habitat with rare ecological communities.
The Koelliker Fen Backcountry Hike will take place Wednesday, June 10 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Natural Area of Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Munson Twp.
Geauga County is home to fens and bogs, which are fragile wetland relics of the last Ice Age and living museums of rare plants and animals. CMNH’s Explorer magazine describes a fen as “an area of wet seepage fed by cold springs percolating up through limestone-rich deposits of glacial gravel: this results in a very alkaline (high pH) environment.” Distinct plant communities include rare orchids, star-flowered Solomon’s seal and poison sumac, as well as rare animals like the cloudy arches moth; a state record are able to survive only in the conditions unique to this treasure.
Koelliker Fen in Munson Township, part of the museum’s extensive Natural Areas Program, was found by Joe and Betty Koelliker in 1960. They called it “a dream come true” and continue to protect the treasure. In 1989, they sold the fen portion of the land to the CMNH; the museum recently purchased additional acreage to ensure its protection.
Registration is required for this opportunity to tour the fen on the Geauga Park District website or 440-286-9516, with directions provided after sign-up. Expect steep grades, muddy, slippery footing and off-trail obstacles like poison sumac and downed trees; wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and waterproof, knee-high boots that will provide traction off trail. This hike will be held even if there’s rain, so rain gear might also be needed.
June is “Connect with Activity” month at Geauga Park District – make this unique trip one of your connections!
This article is brought to you by Geauga Park District