Kroger Wetland and Becky's Meadow were developed so you could experience a wetland and become familiar with flora and fauna native to Ohio.
Crooked Creek separates Kroger Wetland from the homes on Phillips Street and joins Duck Creek on the other side of the I-77 Interstate off-ramp. This twenty-acre area was a natural wetland before the interstate and shopping center were built. It has several of the requisite plants for a wetland -- varieties of sedges and rushes as well as arrowhead, water plantain and cattails. Most of what you see in the wetland area is natural growth, but two intrusive aliens, autumn olive and ailanthus, also thrive.
The area consists of several ponds whose depth varies with rainfall and the season. A loop trail about a mile long around the wet area crosses a bridge over the outlet to Crooked Creek with interpretative signs along the trail that keep you in touch with sightings from the trail. Walkers can take Drayer trail, which connects the loop to East Phillips Street. This path takes walkers into the higher areas of the wetland with gaura plant, white pines, Osage orange. Beavers have had access to the wetland through the Interstate culvert and have dammed Crooked Creek in the past, which resulted in flooded backyards of property owners. The beaver dams were destroyed and they have not returned. However, they left their marks on several black cherry trees along the loop path.
There are many animals that still live in the wetland. Nesting birds include mallards, Canada geese, wood ducks, tree swallows, common yellowthroat, yellow warblers, catbirds, willow flycatchers, various woodpeckers, robins, wrens, chickadees, titmice and song sparrows. The Interstate to the east provides a challenge to birders listening for calls and songs.
Kroger Corporation, which has a store off Acme Street, donated the land to the city of Marietta. It is maintained by residents and student volunteers who mulch the trail as needed. The wheelbarrow chained alongside the trail is used for that purpose.
The entrance to the park, on Acme Street, is signaled with a sign. Visitors can park in the gravel parking lot and access the loop trail from the parking lot. All visitors are encouraged to stay on the trail to avoid poison ivy, which thrives in the wild.
Enjoy your visit.
Photos and content courtesy of Brad Bond