Why is it called the Oak Openings?
After making their way through the mire of the Great Black Swamp, early settlers traveling west found themselves in a park-like woodland. Tall widely spaced Oaks, sand dunes and tall grass prairie would have been a welcome relief from several days spent in the damp and dimness of the swamp. These early travelers christened the sandy open swath of western Lucas County, Ohio extending into southeast Michigan the “Oak Openings” and the name stuck.
Isn’t it the park, just past the airport? What’s so special about it?
Many people associate the Oak Openings with the Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, managed by the Metroparks of the Toledo Area. The Oak Openings Region is actually a sandy 5 mile wide swath that extends 22 miles from Southeast Michigan to the Maumee River through Monroe, Lucas, Henry and Fulton Counties. It includes 7 natural areas preserved by a number of agencies and organizations in Ohio and Michigan, and countless acres in private ownership.
The Oak Openings Region contains some of the rarest plant communities in the world. Five of the six natural plant communities in the region are considered globally rare, and the Nature Conservancy has named it one of the world’s “Last Great Places.” Nearly one third of Ohio’s endangered plant species can be found here, along with a host of rare animals, many of them birds and butterflies.
Where can I see endangered species in the Oak Openings?
The Oak Openings Region is home to more state listed species than any county in Ohio. Many of the areas protected in the Oak Openings are refuges for rare and threatened plants and animals.
How can I volunteer in the Oak Openings?
Restoring the Oak Openings Region relies largely on the work of volunteers. Opportunities for volunteering are available at all the organizations working in the Oak Openings Region. Visit our Volunteers page for more information.