The Great Egret Marsh Preserve in Lakeside, Ohio near the coast of Lake Erie was created in 2013. Under the watchful eyes of the Nature Conservancy, the preserve covers more than 150 acres of marshland. An easy 1.2 mile loop trail can be hiked. In addition to hiking, other activities enjoyed in the Preserve include bird watching, fishing, kayaking and canoeing.
The Preserve is a haven for waterfowl. As soon as we entered we spotted an egret and a heron standing in a bog beside the road. Though we stopped right beside it, the egret didn’t move. I rolled down my window to take a photo. It was the closest I have ever been to such a majestic bird.
The Preserve was quiet and uncrowded. It was a wonderful place to visit and is open daily from dawn to dusk. The visitor center was closed when we were there — it was a holiday — but that didn’t keep us from walking the trail and enjoying the views and wildlife which included a large snapping turtle, an eagle, and purple martins raising their brood in a white, gourd-like apartment complex designed especially for these winged creatures.
Other species you might see here include Yellow Warblers, Trumpeter Swans, Spotted Sandpipers, a variety of frogs, River Otters, and many others.
Download the Preserve Trail Map and Guide before you leave home.