Designated Hammocking Sites
Metroparks is a leader in conservation and as such we need to protect the resources we steward. Hammocking is allowed in specific locations that are visually beautiful but ecologically barren. To keep the proper balance between conservation and recreation Metroparks does not allow hammocking on all our property, only in three designated locations and camp sites. While hammocking in approved areas be sure to follow these few rules to help Metroparks prevent harm to trees and prevent the spread of harmful fungi like oak wilt.
- Straps, not ropes – straps distribute weight more and do not “pinch” the conductive tissues of the tree which lie just below the bark.
- Six inches in diameter at least -- If you are hammocking on a tree or a branch that is less than six inches in diameter the stress at the point of attachment is enough to damage the bark and conductive tissue. Trees and branches larger than six inches across spread out the stress over a larger area and can withstand the stress without damage to the conductive tissue.
- Do NOT hammock on Oak trees – Oak wilt is a fungal disease that is extremely detrimental and difficult to detect, until the tree suddenly dies. Metroparks Natural Resources department is diligently working to detect, isolate and remove infected oak trees. There is a cure, but it is costly, time-consuming and until the tree is healed it is still able to spread the disease. The best current management practice is to remove the tree and the roots to slow and hopefully stop the spread of this disease.
- Overnight hammock camping is only permitted in designated campground sites.
Oak Openings Preserve, Hammocking at 'The Spot" Information
Pine Stand Management
Why are they here? Pine trees don’t naturally grow in NW OH. These trees were planted decades ago to help stop erosion and provide a potential cash crop to the park district from the sale of Christmas trees and timber. Today we know the Oak Openings supports a host of globally rare plant communities and the animal species that rely on them are in dire need of space not found in pine plantations. Not only do these pines crowd out native plant communities, they are also susceptible to fungal diseases and forest invaders such as borers and beetles. Because these pines were planted so close their immune systems are not able to bounce back from environmental stressors. Throughout Oak Openings you will see pine stands in collapse. These trees have reached the end of their life and are causing safety concerns, as well as concerns for our globally rare habitat. These are the areas that Metroparks has targeted for removal before they all fall. Some pine stands, like “the spot” are not yet in collapse and provide an opportunity for different experiences such as hammocking.
Pine plantations are roadblocks to the corridors that would otherwise support rare species like ground-nesting birds. The more we extend and link corridors the greater the population success. In this way, the smaller corridors in this preserve are stepping stones to the larger Oak Openings Region Corridor. These are also necessary pathways for pollinator species; animals like bees, flies, butterflies, mosquitoes, and even some birds and bats have important roles pollinating the fruits, vegetables, wild nuts and berries that we love. Without the species they feed off of, we won’t be able to eat either! Habitat restoration includes prairies and savannahs.
- Remaining stands will require long-term management
- Only white pines will persist within existing natural areas
- Pines will remain a cultural resource for the foreseeable future
- Plantation reestablishment will not occur
Raising Babies from the Ground Up
You might be surprised to know that many birds begin life in a nest on or near the ground. Some of these ground nesting birds include native sparrows, woodcocks and certain warblers. Due to habitat loss, Metroparks manages grasslands to help these at-risk birds. Please follow park rules and stay on Metroparks trails since these are very well-camouflaged nurseries with hungry hatchlings and running chicks.
Tree-safe and Conservation focused
Metroparks is a leader in conservation and as such we need to protect the resources we steward. Hammocking is allowed here today for your enjoyment in an area of Oak Openings that is visually beautiful but ecologically barren. To keep the proper balance between conservation and recreation Metroparks does not allow hammocking on all our property, only in camp sites. While hammocking in approved areas be sure to use approved trees that are at least six inches in diameter. Following these rules helps Metroparks prevent harm to trees and the spread of harmful fungi like oak wilt.