Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve

Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve is the only designated freshwater estuary (shown in scenic photos below) under the National Estuarine Research Reserve System which makes it unique for research purposes. The on-site research facilities allow for extensive study of coastal wetlands and many universities have research programs ongoing at the preserve. The 571 acre Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve has an educational visitors center (with displays and videos) that is open Wednesday through Sunday in the afternoons and several beautiful walking trails. Like all state preserves, Old Woman Creek is suited for quiet activities that do not impact the area such as walking, hiking, nature study, painting and photography. The Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve is about 10 miles from downtown Milan on Rt. 6 in Berlin Township To find the preserve, go east on Route 6 through Huron and the entrance is about three miles past Huron on the south side of Rt. 6.

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As noted, Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve has two separate trails (with three different surfaces) that come together in the center of the woods The north (right) side trail is called the "Edward Walper Trail" and runs about 1/2 mile. The first half of the trail is paved and leads directly back to the observation platform that overlooks the Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve Estuary which is the area where the creek joins with Lake Erie to form a unique water mixture. The area is shown in panorama below from the large wooden viewing area. From the platform, the trail winds beside the water, through the woods and eventually joins up with the south (Wintasta) trail and then up a steeper incline and back to the visitors area  The return area from the observation platform to the end of the Edward Walper Trail is a stone trail with some uneven grade. The first half of the trail is senior friendly although the paved path is fairly narrow.

          

Panorama View of Wintasta Trail at Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve
 

The south (left side) trail known as the "Wintasta Trail" is a one mile long, mostly boardwalk covered, trail that winds through the middle of a thick wooded area. The entrance to the trail is a grass meadow and a small portion of the trail is stone covered or compacted earth. There are several steep inclines which have wooden stairs (complete with railings) built to facilitate a pathway through the woods. The trail is heavily wooded, very scenic and well worth the time spent there. Because both trails come together at the end of each, it is easy to go from one trail to another. This is a more adventurous trail with some up and down stairs, however because of the mostly boardwalk path, many seniors would enjoy walking this trail. There are some benches beside the trail.  

          

Panorama View of Estuary at Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve
 

History of Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve

There are at least three different stories of how this beautiful area came to be called "Old Woman's Creek". Since the name dates back to the early 1800's, it's not possible to verify the exact story of the area. Most people think that the name comes from an old woman who lived in a cabin by the creek. She had an Indian name that was hard to pronounce and difficult to translate for the settlers and so when someone had questions about the history of the area, the Indians would point to her cabin and say "Go ask old woman at creek"  In the war of 1812, many Indians fled north to Canada but the old woman refused to leave her home. Later she was found dead in her cabin with a hatchet buried in her head. She was buried next to the creek and so the name "Old Woman Creek" became part of the history of the area. There are several other stories based upon old Indian folklore but this one has some basis in fact since later a grave was discovered near the creek.  Examination of the body revealed it to be an elderly Indian woman and she did have a hole in her skull.

 

 

 

Click Here To Visit Old Woman Creek Official Website

Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve - Page Updated: 06/24/2010

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