Black River Nature Preserve

All rivers, large and small, have to start somewhere.

The Black River, whose watershed encompasses 467 square miles in parts of five counties, has its headwaters in southwestern Medina County’s Harrisville Township. Medina County Park District is committed to protecting the water quality and rich habitats of one of Northeast Ohio’s great rivers, while providing visitors opportunities to explore and enjoy nature.

Black River Nature Preserve is comprised of three park district sites totaling more than 400 acres in the headwaters area: Hidden Hollow Camp (opened 1984), Bluebell Valley (opened 2020), and the future East Fork area. You can learn more about the open sites below.

The East Branch of the Black River is formed by the confluence of two tributaries that flow through these park sites: the East Fork and the West Fork. The streams come together just north of U.S. Route 42, flowing through Spencer Township and into Lorain County, where the Black River meets Lake Erie at Lorain Harbor.

Along the way, the Black River helps supply drinking water for some of the watershed’s 180,000 residents and provides high-quality habitat for several state-listed endangered or threatened plant and animal species.

Bluebell Valley

8500 Richman Road
Lodi, OH 44254
(Harrisville Township)

GPS Coordinates
North: N 41 02’ 28.77
West: W 082 02’ 4.1

Gravel Trail (.5 mile – natural)  
Nature Trail (.65 mile – natural)  
86.74 acres

Bluebell Valley is a quiet, remote area in which to enjoy nature. Visitors can expect to experience beautiful views of grasslands and woodlands, interesting walking trails, and lush habitat for butterflies and migrating birds. This area was part of a wetland mitigation and stream restoration project in 2002 that restored 8,000 linear feet of the Black River.

Phase 1 improvements have recently been completed, including a 20-car parking lot, a 10-foot-wide, half-mile limestone loop trail (accessible for wheelchairs and strollers), and a .65 natural-surface primitive trail that travels through native grasses, woods, and close to wetlands.

Additional improvements planned for Phase 2 in 2021 include a small picnic shelter and a restroom. Because the area is designated as a nature preserve, it will not include a playground or any paved areas. Leashed pets are welcome. Biking is not permitted.

Bluebell Valley Activities/Amenities

Hidden Hollow Camp

8672 Richman Road
Lodi, OH 44254 
(Harrisville Township)
Located on County Road 69 one
south of U.S.Route 224

Outer Loop Trail (1 mile – natural)  
Inner Loop Trail (.5 mile – natural)  
178.50 acres
1-acre pond
GPS Coordinates
North: N 41 02’ 13.368
West: W 082 02’ 04.302

Hidden Hollow Camp is not open to the public on a daily basis. Reservations are required to use the area and its facilities. Hidden Hollow Camp is named for the distinct hidden floodplain cut by the Black River. There are many species of wildflowers not commonly seen in other park district sites including blue-eyed Mary, Indian cucumber root, and wild hyacinth. The forests and thickets provide ideal habitat for migrating warblers. Signs of river otter have been observed along the Black River, and gray fox live in the floodplain forest.

Day-use Events
The building may be reserved by the public from 9 a.m. to dark for day-use events such as picnics, graduation parties, birthday parties, etc., however, overnight camping for the general public is not permitted.

Indoor Camp-outs
The group activities building at Hidden Hollow Camp can accommodate large gatherings of organized youth groups such as scouts, churches, schools, and other organizations, allowing youth/school-age children indoor camp-outs. Click HERE for additional information on indoor camp-outs and the team-building challenge course. The rate for youth groups is $30 per night. Groups interested in using Hidden Hollow Camp for camping must contact the park office at (330) 722-9364. You cannot make group reservations online or via email.

Hidden Hollow Camp Information

Shelter Information
- Handicap accessible
- Size: 32.5’ x 47’ concrete floor
- Tables: Six 8’
- Chairs: 60
- Grills: One 30” x 36”
- Benches: Nine 8’ outdoor picnic tables
- Serving shelves: Five 5’ stainless steel kitchen prep counters
- Misc.: Refrigerator, stove/oven, water hydrants, wood-burning stove (firewood not guaranteed), projection screen, camp fire site
- Outlets: Electric
- Capacity: 75 people
- Restrooms located outdoors; no flush toilets

Internet hot-spot access is available upon request on a first-come, first-serve basis for $25.

Items subject to change; call for verification

Resident: $75/weekday; $100/weekend/holiday
Non-resident: $125/weekday; $150/weekend/holiday

Make a DAY-USE ONLY shelter reservation

The key/cleaning deposit for Hidden Hollow Camp is $50. The key must be picked up at the park district headquarters one or two business days before your reservation. For weekend reservations, you must pick the key up either Thursday or Friday as the park office is open Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is closed weekends and holidays. The key must be returned in person to the park district office. Please wait at least two business days to return the key to allow time for office staff to receive the building inspection report. Please do NOT mail the key. The key/cleaning deposit will be refunded provided the key is returned, and the building is left clean and undamaged. If the key is lost, $25 will be retained from the deposit for replacement. Should damage to the facility occur at a cost that exceeds the maintenance deposit, the patron will be billed the difference.

Hidden Hollow Camp Activities/Amenities