Springfield Bog Metro Park opened January 5, 2011, and it is our first "Watch Us Grow" opportunity. Over the next few years, visitors will see quite a change as more than 40 varieties of prairie plants transform the former farmland. The result could be a birding hotspot, attracting bobolinks, meadowlarks, rails and other grassland nesting species.
So why a prairie? Ohio's earliest land surveys showed prairies near bogs on the Continental Divide. The park's natural features include Young's Bogs – formed after glacial depressions filled with water and sphagnum moss formed dense, floating mats of peat – and the Divide, which causes water to the north to flow to Lake Erie, while water to the south flows to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.
The bogs were named for the Young family that settled here in 1877. These wetlands once produced a growth of huckleberries that drew enthusiastic pickers all the way from Canton, Akron and points north via the Akron-Canton Interurban Railway. Commercial picking stopped sometime in the 1950s.