The West Woods Habitat
The natural diversity of The West Woods is not only pleasing to the eye; it provides refuge for a variety of wildlife. Wetlands, mature forests, reclaimed farm fields and Ansel’s Cave, which is composed of Sharon conglomerate sandstone ledges, provide habitat for a great number of plant and animal species. Three tributaries of Silver Creek – a high quality cold-water stream and a tributary of the Chagrin River – have been used by the Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Wildlife to successfully reintroduce a “threatened” species of native brook trout.
Several potentially threatened species have been identified here, including the butternut tree, closed gentian, blunt mountain mint wildflowers, tall manna grass and the Mourning Warbler. More than 100 species of fungi have been identified here, several of which are rare in North America.
As the forest continues to mature, the undisturbed habitat becomes increasingly valuable to wildlife, including woodland songbirds like tanagers, warblers, thrushes, vireos and flycatchers; Pileated Woodpeckers; and Barred Owls and others that depend on sizable forest stands with undisturbed interiors.
Frogs, toads and a large variety of salamanders benefit from the abundance of seeps, springs, streams and both naturally occurring and manmade wetlands located within the park.