Mercer Woods Preserve
112.57 acres of old growth forest located in both Fairfield and Hocking Counties
Old Growth Hemlock-Hardwood Forest. The Mercer Woods property was donated to AOA in 2014 by Lyn and Dave Hargreave as part of the Elbert Mercer estate. This property consists of 112.57 acres located in both Fairfield and Hocking Counties. The property has mature hemlock-hardwood forests in the valleys and oak-hickory and oak-Virginia pine forests on the ridge tops. Mature trees in this forest are approximately 90 plus years old and include hemlock, red oak, white oak, black oak, chestnut oak, beech, tulip poplar, cherry, and pitch pine. Some of the oaks are old growth forest and 4 to 5 feet in diameter. The property also has attractive outcrops of Black Hand Sandstone.
Rare and State Listed Plant Species. Rare plant species on the property include Great Rhododendron and the Northern adders tongue fern which are both State of Ohio listed. There have been ten Ohio native orchid species observed on the property including the showy orchis, pink lady slipper, puttyroot, large twayblade, ragged fringed orchid, purple fringeless orchid, cranefly orchid and the large yellow lady slipper orchid. The yellow fringed orchid has also been reintroduced onto the property as a rescued plant. The property has an exceptional quantity and variety of native wildflowers in the valleys and on the slopes. AOA has hosted both a spring and a fall orchid walk on the property the last two years.
Stewardship work on the property has included annual removal of garlic mustard and periodic removal of other invasives since 2014. The property is currently used for AOA events including a spring and fall orchid walk.
The Mercer House on the property is currently available for daily rental.