Erie Sand Barrens Nature Preserve is a remnant of the Firelands, or “Sufferers’ Land,” a huge tract of land in what is now Northern Ohio set aside by the state
of Connecticut for “Sufferers” who were burned out of their homes by the
British in the Revolution.
After the War of 1812, a flood of pioneers from New England came to the area to settle. This large immigration resulted in the land being used for farming for much of the 19th century through the 1930s. In 1941, the land was taken by eminent domain by the federal government for the Plum Brook Ordnance Works, a major manufacturing site for TNT and other WWII
explosives. The land passed to NASA as part of the Plum Brook Station. In the late 1970s, the site was transferred to the Ohio
Division of Natural Areas and Preserves.
The Sand Barrens is 32 acres and is home to many types of plants, among them Tall Green milkweed, Virginia Meadow Beauty, Partridge-pea, Lance-leaved Violet, Twisted Yellow-eyed Grass, least St. John’s-wort, and Sand Panicgrass. Depending on what time of year you visit, you will be greeted with masses of butterflies. Due to the sandy soil and exposure to the sun, trees have a very hard time growing, so it has retained the prairie nature. You will be treated to many species of birds as well, including turkey vultures!
The Sand Barrens are a nice 11 mile drive that takes about 20 minutes from Angel Welcome Bed and Breakfast.