Cardinal Preserves

Cardinal Preserves

What is a nature preserve?

Cardinal nature preserves are selected for a variety of reasons including; plant and animal diversity, proximity to rivers, lakes, and 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.

Some of our preserves have been acquired for conservation’s sake, meaning they are not open to the public in order to protect their delicate natural resources. Others are open during special events with programs led by trained zoologists or botanists. This year, we are excited to open four of our recently restored preserves to our members! We seek to connect people to greenspaces near them and to nurture natural resources in SW Ohio.

We invite you to learn, volunteer, or relax at our preserves.

Preserves Opening Summer 2022

After spending time restoring our preserves, building trails, and putting up signage, we are excited to announce the opening of four Cardinal preserves. Following opening day, these preserves will be open from dawn to dusk. To celebrate, we will reward any member who visits all four preserves by the end of summer! 
See the Preserve Passport rules below.

Rinsky Woods - Open

Clermont County
There are few woods like this in the world. Those 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 flatwoods are adjacent to Stonelick State Park, adding to an admirable stretch of greenspace in the area.

Todd's Fork Preserve - Open

Clinton County
Native prairies give way to a hundred+ acre woods, Todd’s Fork of the Little Miami River, running through it all. Cardinal has several stewardship projects ongoing, here, including maintenance of the prairie, which is burnt to discourage unwanted invasive plants on an annual basis.

Kope Nature Preserve - Open

Brown County
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, contributing to Roup’s Run, which flows into the Ohio River just beyond the bounds of the property.

Bortz Family Nature Preserve - Opening in August

Hamilton County

This 119-acre preserve offers respite in deep and cool woods, as well as views of the wide Ohio and of the Little Miami’s emerald shores. Over the coming months, a 1.8 mile trail loop will be built with help from Cardinal volunteers. The diversity of this land contributes to its appeal for wildlife, as well as humans. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources determined that this land is likely the home of the endangered Indiana Bat, as well as several endangered species of mussels, but they are not alone. Overlooking the confluence of these two great rivers is the nest of an American Bald Eagle, atop a towering cottonwood tree. Watch from our eagle cam.

Other Cardinal Preserves

Westmark Woods

Hamilton County

New in 2021, Westmark Woods is a 25 acre preserve in Springfield Township, Hamilton County.  The West Fork of the Mill Creek flows through the preserve on the way to Winton Woods lake.  One of the last large forested parcels in central Hamilton County, we are working to clear invasive bush honeysuckle and plant native trees instead.

Laurel Ridge I Preserve

Hamilton County

Laurel Ridge I is a small preserve, which protects three tributaries to Taylor Creek, and preserves a length of the viewshed from i-74. This small, protected area is not open to the public.

Hunter Glen Preserve

Clinton County

The last remaining wooded area in the small Wilmington-area neighborhood of Highland Addition, Hunter Glen features maturing woods and a streams which run into Lytle Creek. The preservation of this place serves to prevent erosion and improve stream water quality, but 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

Hamilton County

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.

Berninghaus Preserve

Hamilton County

Berninghaus Preserve was designed to protect an unnamed tributary to the Mill Creek, which runs through the Westwood neighborhood, and preserve greenspace within this residential area. This small, protected area is not open to the public.



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