Parker Woods

185 acre Forest Expansion of the Highlands Nature Sanctuary!

Saving the other half of Celandine Hill. In 2003, with our very first Clean Ohio grant, the Arc purchased a 202 acre forest tract on the southeast corner of the Sanctuary known as Sad Song Creek. The Sad Song tract took in a little over half of a major topographical feature named Celandine Hill. Parker Woods comprises the remaining half of Celandine Hill as well as the entirety of an adjacent hill. 

Headwaters of Sad Song Creek. Parker Woods’ addition to the Highlands Nature Sanctuary further protects the water quality and the intact aquatic ecosystems of the lower Rocky Fork. More than half of the watershed drains into a major tributary of the Rocky Fork, the beautiful and pristine Sad Song Creek. Sad Song Creek sparkles with cool, spring-fed waters that well up in another nearby Sanctuary property, a wetlands known as Shining Springs. At 415 acres, Sad Song Creek Parker Woods and Shining Springs compose the largest contiguous forest block in the entire Sanctuary region.

Intact Oak-Hickory and Mixed Mesophytic Forest. Parker Woods bears a medium-aged closed canopy forest with fully intact soils and diverse tree assemblages. The forest assemblage is mixed-mesophytic at the base of the hills and oak-hickory at the upper elevations. An abundant wildflower understory exists on the sandstone-base ridgetops dominated by yellow corydalis, celandine wood poppy, spring beauties, false mermaid, and dwarf larkspur.  All three of Ohio’s bedrock types – sandstone, shale and limestone –  are evident in Parker Woods, contributing to plant diversity.