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Erie Sand Barrens State Nature Preserve

Erie Sand Barrens is a unique, curious sand prairie area, similar to the Oak Openings west of Toledo. It hosts a number of rare plants, including  Virginia Meadow Beauty, Rhexia virginica.


Prairie Name

Erie Sand Barrens State Nature Preserve


Erie Sand Barrens State Nature Preserve is located south of the corner Scheid and Taylor Roads, In Erie County. It is on the large Firelands Prairie (Ohio Prairie Regions).


Erie Sand Barrens State Nature Preserve is owned and managed by the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves

Prairie History

Erie Sand Barrens State Nature Preserve is a remnant sand prairie portion of the original Firelands Prairie. This site was a farm in much of the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1941 the area was taken by eminent domain by the federal government for the creation of the Plum Brook Ordnance Works, a major manufacturing site for TNT and other WWII explosives. From the 1940s until the 1980s, it was owned by first, the War Department (later, the Defense Dept), and finally by NASA, in the adjoining NASA Plum Brook Station, to the north.

Because of the sandy nature of the soils of the site, there has been no farming on the site since the 1930s. In the late 1970s, the site was transferred to the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves.


Erie Sand Barrens  is 32 acres.

Prairie Description

This unique prairie area is dominated by remnant Ice Age lake sand bars, supporting dry sand prairie species, with wet prairie habitats in local depressions. Many rare prairie species grow on the site, including Tall Green milkweed, Virginia Meadow Beauty, Partridge-pea, Lance-leaved Violet, Twisted Yellow-eyed Grass, least St. John's-wort, and Sand Panicgrass.

Erie Sand Barrens, ecologically and geologically, is a distant ecological and geological outlier of the Oak Openings Prairie Area west of Toledo, with similar xeric and hydric sand substrates and plant communities.

Visitation Information

Parking is uncomplicated along Scheid Road, at the gate. There are no visitor facilities.

Collecting of seeds or plants from the site is strictly prohibited.

A information on the area can be viewed and downloaded here: