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McCracken Fen State Nature Preserve

Preserving 94 acres in Logan County

McCracken Fen is situated in the Farmersville moraine which contains several spring-fed glacial kettles. Up until the early 1980’s, the kettle at McCracken Fen contained unbroken deposits of peat covered by shrub fen. In the early 1980’s peat and marl deposits were mined, leaving several open water areas and deep troughs and ridges. In addition, large gravel piles were constructed to the east of the basin, creating an area where the mined peat could dry. Despite this disturbance, several areas of the original fen community were not mined, and additional rare species were released from the seedbank where mining occurred. At least 17 rare plant species have been documented here, including Smith’s bulrush (Schoenoplectus smithii), swamp birch (Betula pumila), and green spikerush (Eleocharis flavescnes). McCracken fen is also home to a population of the state endangered lilypad forktail damselfly (Ischnura kellicotti).

Local Directions

1.3 miles south of Bellefontaine on U.S. Route 68; proceed 1.2 miles west on Township Highway 190 W which turns sharply left and becomes County Road 32 S, where a small pull-off is provided for parking.

Special Features

Summer Wildflowers
Bird Watching

  • Glacial Kettle, Rare Plant Species
  • Views of wetland basin


  • Unimproved trails on the east and north uplands of the preserve