Sanctuary Marsh next to North Chagrin Nature Center is a favorite place for many people to walk and enjoy viewing birds, beavers, muskrats, turtles and dragonflies. The marsh is an excellent habitat for many wetland creatures who call it home. And a beautiful wooden boardwalk across the water invites us out for a close-up view of the life that abounds.
As you look down into the water or tiptoe around the edges, you’re sure to get a look at some turtles. Midland painted turtles and snapping turtles are common while careful viewing may even allow you to spot a much less common musk turtle. Turtles love to bask in the sunlight and will crawl out onto the edges or look for a log to bask and warm themselves.
Naturalist Jake Kudrna noticed that, mostly thanks to the hard working beavers that live in the area, there was a lack of good turtle logs in the marsh. He made some calls to Park Manager Brad Shawhan and asked if when they were doing some routine tree removal if a log could be brought to the marsh and put in as a turtle basking log. Sure enough, Brad and the North Chagrin Management crew came through and brought a fantastic 16 foot long white oak log. It was no easy task to get the log out into the marsh, at almost 8 feet deep, and get it secured so that it wouldn’t float away. Naturalist Jake and the North Chagrin Management crew were up to the job!
Now you can walk out onto the board walk and get a clear and open view of the new turtle basking log. Large snapping turtles are particularly fond of it and on one day there were even two huge snappers sunning at the same time! It’s not uncommon for a dozen or more people gathered on the boardwalk to see what turtle antics are going on at the log that day. It seems like a basic enough solution to a basic problem, but the results have been fun and educational for North Chagrin guests and we think the turtles are pretty happy about it too.