Welton’s Gorge Habitat
The Sharon sandstone and Sharon conglomerate exposed in Welton’s Gorge were formed around 300 million years ago when this land was covered in a braided river system. Sediments carried by those rivers were deposited in layers, which cemented into rock. Over thousands of years, glacial meltwater and post-glacial rain events carved through the bedrock.
Outcroppings in Welton’s Gorge create a cool moisture-rich environment where various lichens, mosses and ferns dominate. Eastern hemlock, yellow birch and lowbush blueberry typically inhabit more northern climates, but thrive here because of moisture-rich soils and cool summers.
Unique and fragile plant communities found here support equally interesting and sensitive animals. Shaded and cold ground water-fed primary headwater streams offer the perfect habitat for salamanders like the Northern Red and Long-tailed salamanders. Sloping banks provide preferred nesting sites for birds like the Dark-eyed Junco and the Louisiana Waterthrush. Cool, moist soils in the gorge are preferred by the Camel Cricket.
Welton’s Gorge contains more than 6,000 linear feet of tributaries to the East Branch of the Cuyahoga River, more than 4,000 linear feet of Class 3 Primary Headwater Habitat (the highest quality headwater streams in Ohio, according to the Ohio EPA), and nine wetlands. Overall, almost half of this property is early successional forest, followed by 29 percent mature forest.