SPRING VALLEY WILDLIFE AREA
Location and Direction
Spring Valley Wildlife Area is about 22.7 miles southeast of downtown Dayton. From the intersection of Third and Main Streets in downtown Dayton, take SR 48 (Main St.) south 8.5 miles to SR 725, then turn left (east) onto SR 725 and go 9.7 miles to US 42. Turn right (south) onto US 42, go 1.7 miles and turn left (east) onto Roxanna-New Burlington Road, then go 1.5 miles to Pence Jones Road. Turn right (south) onto Pence Jones Road and go 0.3 miles to an unmarked parking lot on the right side to go to the boardwalk and observation tower. (An unmarked trail leads from the south side of the parking lot to the boardwalk). Or follow Pence Jones Road 0.4 miles farther until it dead-ends at Collett Road. Turn right (west) onto Collett Road and go 0.5 miles (past a campground and a mobile home park) to the lower Wildlife Area parking lot at the lake. Map.
Area Description and Habitat
Although relatively small (842 acres), Spring Valley Wildlife Area contains an intricate assemblage of upland hardwoods, old fields, brushy brambles, grassland, cropland, dense hedgerows, bottomland hardwoods, open water marsh, and wetlands. Much of the birdwatching activity is centered around the marsh, which consists of 70 acres of open water and 82 acres of a complex variety of wetland communities
More than 230 species of birds have been identified at Spring Valley Wildlife Area, with at least 74 confirmed nesting species. Virtually all of Ohio's common inland avian residents, as well as typical Ohio migrants, are represented. The spring season can be spectacular, with a myriad of waterfowl in full breeding plumage staging on the marsh. Virtually all species of Ohio's migrant waterfowl except sea ducks frequent the marsh during migration. Exposed mudflats during occasional dry years with lower water levels offer a bonanza for shorebirds.
Some of the less common species that have been observed are: Red-necked Grebe, American Bittern and Least Bittern, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, Sandhill Crane, Greater White-fronted Goose, Cinnamon Teal, Oldsquaw, King-, Yellow-, and Black Rails, Purple Gallinule, Bald Eagle, Brewster's Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, and Clay-colored Sparrow.
Note: The Massasauga rattlesnake is also found here.
Facilities and Other Information
A 2.5 mile observation trail circles the marsh and provides relatively dry walking. However, water-proof footwear is recommended because some parts of the trail may be muddy due to flooding caused by recent beaver activity. A boardwalk extends 655 feet into the marsh, ending in a 13-foot-tall observation tower. This structure provides safe access into the marsh without disturbing the delicate wetland ecosystem.
An unimproved canoe and small boat launching area is available at the south end of the lake. (Bring your own boat. No rentals are available.) Only electric motors are permitted. (Note: The lake is filled with aquatic vegetation during mid- and late summer).
There are no restrooms and no drinking water. Be sure to bring your insect repellent during insect season.
Descriptive literature, and a "Birds of Spring Valley Wildlife Area Check List" are available at the wildlife area headquarters bulletin board on Roxanna-New Burlington Road.