Cardinal Nature Preserves
What is a nature preserve?
A nature preserve is defined as a tract of land managed so as to preserve its flora, fauna, and physical features. Cardinal nature preserves are selected for a variety of reasons including plant and animal diversity, proximity to rivers, lakes, stressed watersheds, and ease of access. These preserves are owned by Cardinal and managed by our stewardship staff and dedicated volunteers. Purchasing nature preserves is one way Cardinal protects waterways, biological diversity, and places for people to connect with nature.
Cardinal holds the title to 11 nature preserves.
In 2022, we opened four restored preserves to our members! We seek to connect people to greenspaces near them and to nurture natural resources in Southwest Ohio. Rinsky Woods, Todd’s Fork, Kope Hollow, and Bortz Family Nature Preserve are open from dawn to dusk.
We invite you to learn, volunteer, or relax at our preserves.
Rinsky Woods Nature Preserve
There are few woods like this in the world. Those woods that exist are found only in Southwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana. Rinksy Woods is the second largest woods of this kind in the world. In fact, it has been designated as an Ohio Natural Landmark by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. These wet flat woods are adjacent to Stonelick State Park, adding to an admirable stretch of greenspace in the area.
Todd's Fork Nature Preserve
Native prairies give way to a 100+ acre woods on this preserve, which also includes the Todd’s Fork of the Little Miami River. Cardinal has several stewardship projects ongoing here including maintenance of the prairie. Maintenance includes prescribed burning which is meant to discourage unwanted invasive plants on an annual basis.
Kope Hollow Nature Preserve
In Southeast Brown County, the Kope formation (a bedrock formation unique to Southern Ohio and Indiana) runs through incredibly diverse woods. A recent native plant survey listed over 100 native species. This property is also graced with five waterfalls that contribute to Roup’s Run. This water flows into the Ohio River just beyond the bounds of the property.
Bortz Family Nature Preserve
This 119-acre preserve offers respite in deep and cool woods along with views of the wide Ohio and of the Little Miami’s emerald shores. This land appeals to both humans and wildlife because of its diversity. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources determined that this land is likely the home of the endangered Indiana Bat and several endangered species of mussels. Overlooking the confluence of these two great rivers is an American Bald Eagle nest, atop a towering cottonwood tree. Our eagles can be viewed by our Eagle Camera from January to June!
Private Cardinal Preserves
The Westmark Woods is a 25 acre preserve in Springfield Township, Hamilton County acquired in 2021. The West Fork of the Mill Creek flows through the preserve on the way to the lake at Winton Woods (part of the Great Parks of Hamilton County). Since it is one of the last large forested parcels in central Hamilton County, we are working to clear invasive bush honeysuckle and plant native trees instead. While not open to the public, Cardinal staff may run a guided hike on the property.
Laurel Ridge I Preserve
Laurel Ridge I is a small preserve, which protects three tributaries to Taylor Creek. This preserve safeguards a length of the viewshed from interstate 74. This small, protected area does not offer Cardinal guided hikes and is closed to the public.
Hunter Glen Preserve
Hunter Glen is the last remaining wooded area in the small Wilmington-area neighborhood of Highland Addition. This preserve features mature woods and a stream which runs into Lytle Creek. The preservation of this place serves to prevent erosion and improve stream water quality. It is also a testament to the power of volunteerism. The preserve is named for Bud Hunter, who maintained the preserve for years.
Styer Preserve is a small gem near the White Water River. The preserve sits on a wooded ridge with varied flora, ephemeral wetlands, and patches of old growth woods. The understory provides an ideal sanctuary for birds and wildlife in landscape that is mostly residential. While not open to the public, Cardinal staff may run a guided hike on the property.
Berninghaus Preserve was designed to protect an unnamed tributary that flows to the Mill Creek which runs through the Westwood neighborhood. This preserve saves the greenspace within this residential area. This small, protected area does not offer Cardinal guided hikes and is closed to the public.