Site Name: The Wilds And Surrounding AEP Recreation Lands
14000 International Rd., Cumberland, OH 43732
Guernsey, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble
DeLorme page number and letter/number coordinates:
(7th Edition and earlier) Page 70 / B-4 and B-5 – note: roads may be drastically different from what is on Delorme maps or topographic quads as reclaimed areas are not accurate.
Nearest town or city:
Distance and direction from nearest town/city:
12 miles SE of Zanesville / 3 miles SW of Cumberland
Directions to site from nearest town/city of at least moderate size:
From Zanesville – take SR 146 E of Zanesville, take SR 284 SE from Chandlersville, take International Road to the main parking lot area of the Wilds.
Links to Websites
Best source of a website map for this location, and any comments on map quality:
map available upon request from firstname.lastname@example.org
Website links to general information about this site:
Site DescriptionThe Wilds is a large reclaimed surface mine grassland area that has abundant wintering raptors and grassland nesting birds. Surrounding the Wilds (9200 acres) is thousands of acres of AEP RE-Creation lands that have similar habitats. While most of the region is this rolling grassland, there are also areas of ponds, lakes, wetlands, spoils forest, and remnant hardwood forests. Wide-open vistas make hawk-watching possible. Main roads are hard-topped, but many roads are light duty (gravel and dirt) and can be treacherous in wet seasons. Birders are reminded that many of the coal-haul roads can be very bad in any season and that they are numerous and confusing. Getting stuck out there could mean a very long walk out. Some areas are beginning to be overgrown into thickets of autumn olive and planted young stands of black pine and green ash. Birding from the roadside is the suggested practice as these are private lands and many are posted for no trespassing. Groups can schedule special tours, workshops from the Wilds lodge, and hikes across remote areas of the Wilds (see www.thewilds.org ). Checklists of birds seen at the Wilds are available on the Wilds website. Special “Winter on the Wilds” programs also offer birders a chance to see the area, guided by Wilds naturalists.
Birds of Interest - Seasonal Specialties
Raptors – all phases of Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Harriers, Short-eared Owls, Bald and Golden Eagles, Prairie Falcon (2003 & 2004), Eastern Meadowlarks, Trumpeter Swans.
Woodland migrants are especially good at small copses of forest throughout the area as they seem to funnel birds to these areas from the large grassland areas. Henslow’s Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Bobolinks are especially abundant in the large grassland expanses.
Ponds and lakes are especially good for shorebirds, Osprey, terns, waders, etc. in late August and early September.
Waterfowl diversity fairly high, but never in great numbers.
General Information For This Area
The Wilds is open for naturalist-guided bus tours of the Wildlife Conservation Park from May 1 to October 31 on weekends, and from Memorial Day to Labor Day from Wednesday through Sunday. Breeding facilities and open-range pastures for world-wide endangered wildlife give you the opportunity to see rhino, giraffe, oryx, bison, and over 20 other hoofed mammals. Perimeter roads are open for birding anytime of the year.
The main parking lot is located on International Road. A birdwatcher lookout is planned for the area near High Hill along SR 284.
Free permits for use of AEP re-creation lands can be downloaded from www.aep.com/environmental/stewardship/recland/requestpermit.htm or can be picked up at Gracie’s Grocery store in Cumberland, OH. Note, the Wilds is private property and birders who seek permission to bird on the Wilds must be accompanied by a Wilds staff person due to inherent dangers of large mammals on the property.
Not available currently, except during open season for tour goers. The nearest facilities are located at Gracie’s grocery in Cumberland.
Reclaimed mines have numerous inherent dangers. Roads can be treacherous in wet seasons and may have scrap metal and rock shard tire hazards. Walking over areas can expose persons to very rugged terrain, high wall cliffs, pits hidden in grassy areas, boulder drain-ways, and deep sediment pools. The Wilds is off limits without a Wilds staff person due to the dangers of large hoofed wildlife and the potential dangers of escaped animals.
Harmful insects, poisonous plants or animals:
Copperhead snakes are found in some of the wooded areas.
Restaurants in the area:
Gracie’s Grocery has great food and a small-town store atmosphere. Restaurants are also available in Zanesville on the way out to the Wilds.
Other Useful Information:
The Wilds has group camps available for birders at the Conservation Yurt Camp, the Lodge, and a primitive campsite. Summer camps are available for wildlife-loving kids as well. Contact Al Parker for information at email@example.com.
Other Birding Opportunities in the Area
Blue Rock State Forest – mature hardwood forests and neo-tropical migrants.