Wahkeena is located on the southeastern boundary of glaciation in Ohio where it hosts an abundance of plants and animals typical of the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau, as well as some glacial relicts. The existence of this serene haven is a tribute to the efforts of one woman, Carmen Warner who fell in love with this corner of rural Fairfield County.
More than 250 million years ago, a shallow sea covered much of what is now Ohio. The sands and gravel that were deposited in this inland sea were buried deep below other sediments and eventually hardened into Blackhand sandstone. Over the millennia that followed, changes in continental structure pushed the sandstone to the surface, where it was eroded by wind and water. The result was the hills and valleys that we know as southeastern Ohio's Hocking Hills.
One lobe of the ice from the northern glaciers extended down the Hocking River Valley to what is now Sugar Grove, one mile east of Wahkeena. On the north, the glacier halted a half mile from the preserve. The hemlock trees that today line the Shelter Trail provide clues to the much colder glacial climate of the past.
Rhododendron and mountain laurel, about 30 different kinds of fern, showy orchids, pink lady's slippers and water plants are found at Wahkeena.
Animals, too, have found a refuge at Wahkeena. In one spring alone, 100 kinds of birds and fifteen types of mammals were observed, including white-tailed deer and pileated woodpeckers.
Wahkeena Preserve, Sugar Grove, Ohio features trails that traverse the hillsides and valleys. The rustic log Nature Center building offers educational exhibits overlooking a two-acre pond. Part of the preserve is a Dedicated State Nature Preserve, noted for its native rhododendrons. Educational programs for school groups and other groups are a priority here - groups scheduled by appointment.
Wahkeena is managed by the Fairfield County Historical Parks for the Ohio Historical Society. The site is open April through the first week end in November, Wednesdays through Sundays, 8 a.m. - 4:30. All groups are by reservation. Guided programs are scheduled by appointment Monday - Friday during November - March. Hours subject to change, please call to confirm. Phone 740-746-8695 or 800-297-1883 for details.
Wahkenna is located on Pump Station Road one mile west of Old Logan Road, six miles south of Lancaster in Sugar Grove, off of U.S. Route 33 in Fairfield County, Ohio. It is now a part of the Fairfield County Historical Parks.
Note: Banner at the top of this page is from Wahkenna.