Hawk Woods

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Large red oak (Quercus rubra) in Riddle State Nature Preserve.
Mossy decaying logs in the preserve.

Hawk Woods is an old-growth forest located in central Athens County, Ohio, United States, outside the city of Athens. It comprises 106 acres of foothills in the Allegheny Plateau region.[1] Adjacent to Strouds Run State Park, the woods now are included in a state nature preserve named the Dale & Jackie Riddle State Nature Preserve.[2]

The preserve is owned and managed by the City of Athens. This Ohio public land was dedicated as a state nature preserve, in part because the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves donated $50,000 to the purchase price. The property was purchased from a logging company in 2003 for $550,000.[3] Prior to 2003, the forest had been under private ownership, which kept it isolated from the public for at least 150 years.[4] The preserve is part of the city's east-side Strouds Ridge Preserve project, which to date includes about 325 acres (about 132 hectares) total. The Athens Conservancy purchased an adjacent tract of land in 2018 to help buffer the forest from invasive species that result from outside development.[5]

As with many other areas in southeast Ohio, the preserve suffers from white-tail deer overpopulation. A deer exclosure was built to demonstrate the effects of grazing pressure from the deer.[6]

The preserve is known to harbor the relatively rare gametophytic fern species, the weft fern, Trichomanes intricatum.[citation needed]


  1. ^ McCarthy, Brian C.; Hammer, CA; Kauffman, GL; Cantino, PD (1987). "Vegetation patterns and structure of an old-growth forest in Southeastern Ohio". Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. Torrey Botanical Society. 114 (1): 33–45. doi:10.2307/2996387. JSTOR 2996387.
  2. ^ "Dale & Jackie Riddle State Nature Preserve". Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  3. ^ "City buys land, saving and old-growth forest". The Vindicator. Youngstown, Ohio. Associated Press. May 26, 2003. p. B5. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
  4. ^ "Fundraising race is on to save local old-growth forest from logging". Athens News. May 14, 2003. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  5. ^ "Athens Conservancy gets $1 million in grants to buy 3 tracts". Athens News. June 27, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  6. ^ "Dale and Jackie Riddle State Nature Preserve". Athens Conservancy. Retrieved July 17, 2019.

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Coordinates: 39°20′37″N 82°04′28″W / 39.343633°N 82.074483°W / 39.343633; -82.074483