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Desonier (Marie J.) State Nature Preserve

Preserving 491 acres in Athens County

This preserve encompasses a variety of habitats typical of Appalachian Ohio. The area is diverse in vegetation and ranges from various successional stages to mature forests in the deep ravines and on the steep hillsides. The area is dissected by Jordan Run, a tributary of the Hocking River, and has steep topography, varying from 680 to 900 feet in elevation.

Large beech and oak trees are found in the cool moist ravines while the drier uplands are dominated by oak hickory forests, typical of the region. Due to the diversity of the landscape, a large variety of ferns and wildflowers abound.

Some of the more interesting plants include weak aster, green adder's-mouth orchid and Virginia meadow-beauty. Mistletoe, a parasitic plant on trees, has also been reported from this preserve.

The most notable landscape feature is a large pond created by beaver, complete with many trees bearing the marks of these industrious animals and a stick-built den. The pond, which stretches for several acres, draws a variety of migratory waterfowl.

Local Directions

From Athens - East on US Rte 50, turn left on Township Rd 117C, go 0.8 miles, turn left on County Rd 56, go 0.2 miles to where County Rd 65 turns left, proceed 0.7 miles to the parking area on the left.

From Coolville - West on US Rte 50, turn right on County Rd 56 (Brimstone Rd), go 0.5 miles to where County Rd 65 turns left. Parking lot is 0.7 miles on left.

Special Features

Summer Wildflowers
Spring Wildflowers

  • Large wooded area
  • Summer wildflowers
  • Butterflies, songbirds, and waterfowl


  • 2-mile trail
  • parking is available in front of gate.

Tell Your Preserve Story