TINKERS CREEK STATE NATURE PRESERVE
The swamps and marshlands of Tinker's Creek State Park harbor a variety of natural wonders. Herons, ducks, geese and beaver can be found in the spring-fed waters, while cattail, buttonbush and swamp white oak line the shores of this beautiful park.
The majority of Tinker's Creek State Park is maintained in its original state as a swamp and marshland. These wetlands owe their existence to the glaciers that invaded Ohio during the Pleistocene Ice Age. Glacial features include moraines, kames and eskers. Moraines were formed when a glacier remained stationary for a long period of time leaving hills of boulders, sand and gravel. Kames are deposits of sand and gravel that fell through holes in the ice leaving circular hills. Eskers are deposits of sand and gravel that dropped through ice tunnels leaving long serpentine mounds. Many fine examples of these glacial features are found in the region.
This part of Ohio is known for the number of naturally occurring lakes. Hugh blocks of ice broke free from the glaciers creating depressions which filled as the ice blocks melted. These are known as kettle lakes. Over the ensuing 10,000 years, these lakes have partially filled with sediment leaving boggy wetlands with unique assemblages of plants. Buttonbush, alder and swamp white oak are predominate.
During the spring and fall migration periods, the marsh provides food and shelter for thousands of waterfowl. Mallards, wood ducks and Canada geese nest in the marshlands each year. In addition, woodcock, rail, gallinule, snipe, heron and bittern are often sighted. Beaver and muskrat are common residents.
The region of Tinker's Creek before European settlement was extremely valuable to Native Americans. This area is one of the highest points of the state and lies near the watershed divide in Ohio. The nearby Cuyahoga River flows north to Lake Erie, while the Tuscarawas (through the Muskingum) drains to the Ohio River. This proved advantageous as transportation by canoe from Lake Erie to the Ohio River was possible with only one 8-mile overland portage. The old Indian portage path traveled from the Cuyahoga to the Tuscarawas. This area became an important trade center for both pioneers and Indians. Cheesemaking was one of the early industries of the area (which was often referred to as Cheesedom. Nearly as soon as the first settlers arrived did cheesemaking commence. By 1834, northeast Ohio cheese controlled the southern markets. Eventually, canal and rail transportation increased the area's importance.
In the years prior to the state's acquisition of the land, the area was a private park known as Colonial Spring Gardens. The park was situated around a 10-acre, man-made lake and offered recreational opportunities. The state of Ohio purchased the land in 1966, and in May 1973, Tinker's Creek was dedicated as a state park.
Hiking Trail, miles4
Picnic Shelters, #1