Goll Woods Nature Preserve

26093 County Rd. F
Archbold , OH 43502

614-265-6561   |  http://naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/gollwoods
Open dawn to dusk

The Great Black Swamp and its Legacy

Goll Woods Nature Preserve is the last remaining virgin woodland in Northwest Ohio and offers the public an opportunity to experience the historical landscape.

At the start of the nineteenth century, much of Northwest Ohio was still covered by forested marshland known as the Great Black Swamp. Massive, ancient trees made up the dense forest, and much of its level ground was submerged in muddy water that made clearing it almost impossible. Early settlers had the daunting task of attempting to clear portions of this land in order to farm. It wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that effective draining systems were developed, and once implemented, settlement of this area increased at a rapid rate. The area’s soil was rich and access to Lake Erie and nearby rivers attracted people looking to establish a farm or merchant industry. By the early twentieth century, citizens and some officials became concerned for the preservation of what natural habitat was left. The remnants of remaining Great Black Swamp were purchased by local and state entities, as was the case with Goll Woods. The nature preserve is the least disturbed woodland in northwest Ohio and contains virgin timber with some of the oldest, largest trees in the state. This area is not only significant because of its rarity; it is a very early remnant of a French family who settled here. The Goll family made the purposeful decision to leave a portion of these trees standing when they occupied 600 acres of the area’s land in the 1840s. The State purchased the land from Peter Goll’s great-granddaughter in 1966 and converted it to Goll Woods Nature Preserve to protect the resource in perpetuity.

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Notes for Travelers

Goll Woods Nature Preserve is one of a number of nature preserves in Northwest Ohio that preserve’s the region’s natural history through conservation. The preserve offers four hiking trails with printable walking guides available on the preserve website, offering visitors a view of the abundant wildflowers that grow there. Goll Woods boasts some of the oldest and largest trees in the state. A 140-year old barn and the family cemetery is located within the preserve, transporting travelers back to the nineteenth century. The Division of Natural Areas and Preserves plans public programming for people of all ages designed to let visitors get the most out of their experience in this beautiful, rare Northwest Ohio woodland.

Additional Resources

Wild Ohio: The Best of Our Natural Heritage, James S. McCormac and Gary Meszaros.

Great Black Swamp Woods & Wanders: Nature’s Jewels in Northwest Ohio, Jim Mollenkopf