Timber Management

Aging Pine Trees Present Challenges and Opportunities at Oak Openings Preserve

People love them.

Pine trees planted decades ago were a way to stem soil erosion in Oak Openings Preserve by putting vegetation on the land. They were also envisioned as a future cash crop because the park district could sell the timber to generate revenue.

The trees were never harvested, and as they grew, so did park visitors’ affection for the quiet solitude the pines provided in some areas of the preserve.

But despite their value as a cultural resource, the neatly spaces rows of planted trees have little value to native plants and animals in a region known for its diversity.

Today, many of the pines are reaching the end of their natural life, with collapsing stands of trees posing a potential safety hazard to park visitors. Other pine stands are reasonably healthy and can be managed to extend their life.

Metroparks Toledo is working from a management plan that will:

  • Salvage timber from dead and collapsed pine stands
  • Restore Oak Openings habitat 
  • Promote the health and vigor of culturally significant pine stands 

Where trees are removed, all revenue from the sale of timber will be used to restore the land to a natural state.

Research has shown that in areas where pine plantations have been removed, native species have thrived. Just a few of these areas that have already been restored contain more state-listed rare species than exist in some entire counties in Ohio.

2024 Timber Management

Overview Map

Project Area 1 Map

Project Area 2 map

What Happened?

Metroparks asked local videographer Ellen Dziubek to explore sites in Oak Openings where pine trees were removed over the winter of 2018-2019. Natural Resources manager Tim Gallaher took her on a tour of a recently managed site, a restored area where pines were previously removed and areas that demonstrate the problems ahead.

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