Grand River Wildlife Area is in northeast Ohio in Trumbull County. The Grand River and its tributaries run through the area, creating many wetland areas.
Location & Description
The Grand River Wildlife Area is in northeast Ohio, just east of West Farmington. State Route 88 bisects the area in an east-west direction, and State Route 534 borders the area on the west. Trumbull County Roads Stroups Hicrox, Hoffman Norton, and Corey Hunt run parallel to Route 534 through the area. The 7,664-acre area is flat to gently rolling. Numerous beaver impoundments, and over forty man-made marshes can be found here. The Grand River and five tributary streams meander through the wildlife area, subjecting much of it to flooding during heavy rains and spring thaws. About 46 percent of the area is second growth hardwoods, 49 percent is openland, cropland, and brushland, and 5 percent is wetland and water. On this area, and on private lands to the north, are extensive swamp forests which were once typical of much of northeast Ohio. This portion of the Grand River valley is one of the largest areas of semi-wilderness remaining in heavily populated northeast Ohio, and probably the only public hunting area in the vicinity where even the experienced outdoorsman should take precautions against becoming lost. The pristine, meandering Grand River and its tributaries provide good habitat for colonies of beavers. The combination of beaver impoundments, good water quality, and a large variety of fish species has made it possible to reintroduce river otters here. During the winter of 1986-87 an initial experimental release was made in an attempt to establish a reproducing population of otters in the Grand River watershed. Another release was made in spring 1988. Current river otter populations have expanded so dramatically throughout the state that their endangered species status has been removed. In 2005 Ohio initiated its first river otter trapping season.
History & Purpose
Purchase of land for this wildlife area began in 1956. A portion of the purchased land was cropland; today, much of it is in crop rotation to benefit wildlife. The primary purpose of the wildlife area is to provide public hunting and fishing. Other uses such as hiking and bird watching have become increasingly popular. Several man-made marshes have been impounded, totaling approximately 300 acres. The water levels in these wetlands are managed for waterfowl habitat during the fall migration; they also provide nesting sites for local migratory species.
White-tailed deer, wild turkeys, upland wildlife, and waterfowl are the principal game species. Cottontail rabbits, fox squirrels, ring-necked pheasants, and most of Ohio’s furbearers are common. Raccoons are especially plentiful, and woodcock and snipe frequent the area. Panfish, bass, and chain pickerel are the major species of pond fish. Many kinds of songbirds can be found throughout the area, especially during spring and fall migrations. The wide variety of habitats makes Grand River a primary choice of bird watchers. A three-quarter mile wildlife observation trail including a boardwalk across a beaver impoundment can be found on Hoffman Norton Road. Beaver, river otter, and a great variety of songbirds may be observed.
Forest game—deer, turkey, and squirrels—are the most popular game species, in addition to waterfowl. Upland game hunting is good for rabbits, pheasants, and woodcock. Night hunting is excellent for the abundant raccoons. Trapping opportunity is widespread, especially in the many wetland areas. Pond fishing is fair to good for pickerel, bass, and panfish. Parking lots are strategically situated throughout the area. Parking in non-designated areas is prohibited. A bird dog field trial area is maintained near the southeast end of the wildlife area. Field trials may be held there by permit holding clubs during the field trial season (September - October, March - April). Other compatible uses of the wildlife area are permitted in the field trial area during the field trail season and throughtout the year. Grand River Wildlife Area also features designated access roads for Electric Powered All Purpose Vehicle (EPAPV)/Motor Vehicle Use Permit holders. The permit allows use of an EPAPV with a 30 horsepower and/or use of a motor vehicle on designated access roads on specific state wildlife areas for mobility impaired persons.