http://naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/grossmemorialwoodsThis preserve was made possible by a gift of the heirs of Samuel Gross to the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves via the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy in 1980. Although small in size (49 acres), Gross Woods is one of the least disturbed old-growth woods in west-central Ohio and one of the few mixed-species swamp forests remaining in this part of the state.
The woods are characterized by a diversity of tree species, with no one type being dominant. Large bur oaks and basswood occur in the wettest areas, with shagbark hickory, white and red oaks, black walnut, beech and sugar maple on slightly drier ground. The rare pumpkin ash is also present here.
The display of spring wildflowers and the brilliance of autumn colors makes visiting Gross Memorial Woods rewarding at any season.
I visited this preserve in April 12, 2008, and measured a few of the biggest trees. It was only a few years after a serious ice storm, so many of the softwood trees had suffered a lot of branch breakage - silver maples and basswoods in the swampy sloughs. Beeches on the higher ground were also heavily affected. A boardwalk makes a broad circle through the woodlot giving the casual visitor a good coverage of the forest. In general, the forest gives the appearance of an aging old growth forest, with many large canopy gaps and abundant downed logs. This is especially apparent along the exposed northern boundary, where high winds from summer thunderstorms sweep in from a large open expanse of agricultural fields. The landscape is very similar in appearance to Lawrence Woods (only ~45 minute drive further north) a series of very low swells interspersed with shallow swampy sloughs. The difference appears to be that Gross woods is much much older, and the wet areas having already lost their oldest trees. So the tallest and largest trees are on the high ground in the center west portion of the preserve:
The tragic part of this story is the western half of the woodlot that isn't part of the preserve. It's full of old stumps, so apparently half the old growth was liquidated, probably right before the preserve was created.
A few pictures of the largest trees: