Stages Pond, located in Ashville, OH, is 178 acres of prairie, marsh, and woodlands.
Three years ago, we visited Stages Pond. It was beautiful, but rough. Non-native species such as Autumn Olive and Multi-Flora Rose made it impossible to find native species. Some areas were so thick it was nearly impassable. It was bad, but there were areas that we could tell were in the process of restoration. The Ohio Department of Natural Areas and Preserves have removed many of the non-native invasive species and native plants are returning from seed stored in the soil seed bank.
This past weekend, the PreservArt Ohio photographers had the pleasure of joining a group hike offered by DNAP and led by Jim Osborn, Jason Duchon, and Judd Clover. We were amazed by how much had been accomplished is three short years. The area around the pond now contains Ohio native plants. Dragonflies, butterflies, and bees flew past us and enjoyed the Swam Milkweed and Hibiscus.
We were happy. In the short time that we were there we saw more Monarch butterflies than we had seen all season. Three years prior we were swatting mosquitoes. During this visit, we did not see one. The guides told us that this was because of the dragonfly population. Imagine that, a healthy environment will keep mosquito populations down.
We will have to go back and visit. The DNAP web site has it listed as a Kettle Pond. It will soon be corrected. It is actually a pond, created by glacial melt. As the glacier started to retreat, a section broke and water gushed through the fissure like a waterfall. That water acted like a drill, churning the soil and sediment below and leaving a water filled depression. While both types of ponds are created by a glacier, they are created by different mechanisms. We do not know when the official description will be changed, but it is coming. DNAP is still a state run entity so change will not happen quickly. There are signs to change, and papers to present…
Highlight of the Hike: Ohio Native Species, Swamp Milkweed, Monarch Butterflies, Insect, Birds, Restored Marsh Habitat, DNAP Guides, Glacier created pond and other signs of glacier activity
Hike rating: Worth going back.
Hike conditions: Easy hike, mostly flat, expect humidity, watch out for the poison ivy