Above photo of Junction Earthworks Nature Preserve & Archaeological Park  – courtesy of Robert Gough, rpgough.com.

 

THE ARC OF APPALACHIA 2015-2016 WILDLANDS CAMPAIGN

Six separate projects totaling 861 acres – Click here to donate!

In our 20 years of existence we’ve never attempted a Land Acquisition Campaign this immense, Including two ancient earthwork sites and a 600 acre contiguous forest. Below is a photo gallery of the “Big Six.”

Tract #1. Rejoining Junction Earthworks with its neighbor – Steel Earthworks. Acres: 66


Total Cost: 555,000   
Balance to Raise: 160,042   

In 2014, the Arc and its Coalition partners bought the 2000 year old Junction Earthworks off on the auction block, bidding against developers in a dramatic last-minute save. Everyone said it was a miracle. If that is so, then the miracle of Junction continues on. Just up upstream from Junction on Paint Creek is another ancient earthwork site for sale – Steel Earthworks. Steel was once part of the Hopewell Culture’s sacred ceremonial landscape and was likely contemporaneous with Junction. The same Coalition that saved Junction is now working to save Steel. The Arc’s role once again is to raise the bulk of the funds through private donations and what we aim will be a successful Clean Ohio grant submission. Our plan is to connect the two sites with a public hiking path to create ONE united preserve with two earthwork complexes – a first-ever for Ohio. Steel is in even better condition than Junction, with a completely intact circular earthwork. Junction’s grand opening is scheduled for July, 2016. With successful funding, we aim to have Steel open to the public by 2017. We are also raising funds for a separate endowment fund to support the ever-expanding Junction’s ongoing operations. A gift to this fund is…forever. Above: photo of Junction after selective mowing – courtesy of Tim Anderson Jr., https://www.youtube.com/user/badawgie

Tract #2.   Pride of Ohio Prairie – Expanding Whipple State Nature Preserve    Acres: 10

Balance to Raise: COMPLETED!!

Never have we seen such a small piece of land with so many exceptional attributes. Perched on a steep rocky hillside, this natural prairie opening has over 200 species already recorded, many of them quite rare. Though the Arc will be the long-term owner of this prairie, the land will be turned over to the Division of Natural Areas to manage, expanding the 520 acre Whipple Preserve, located east of the Ohio River town of Manchester between Cincinnati and Portsmouth. Pride of Ohio Prairie offers carpets of shootings stars, hundreds of pink lady slipper orchids, and many noteworthy botanical species, including shale barren aster, slender blazing-star, tall larkspur, crested coral-root, false aloe, and the state-endangered limestone adder’s tongue. Pride of Ohio is one of the most handsome little prairies we have ever laid eyes on. Earlier in time it was a rural home site, and we were enchanted with the colorful old blue pot that enhanced the site’s fall colors.

Tract #3.   More Sky for the Golden Stars – Expanding the Golden Star Lily Preserve    Acres: 118


Total Cost: 327,740   Balance to Raise: 47,705    

The Golden Star Lily, Erythronium rostratum, only grows in two places in Ohio, and only in significant numbers in one of them – the banks of the lower Rocky Fork tributary of Scioto Brush Creek. It was here in Scioto County that we founded the first preserve for the Golden Stars in 2005 with a 67 acre refuge. The Golden Star Lily is a very rare flower in the world, having a spotty distribution and being restrained to the eastern-central states lying west of the Appalachians and east of the prairies. In Ohio the Golden Star Lily is officially endangered. Purchase of the adjacent 118 acres would not only nearly triple the preserve size and its holdings of Golden Star colonies, but it would provide the first feasible trailhead for a public hiking trail at the site. The dream is to hold a grand opening for the preserve’s new trail system in April, 2017, perfectly timed to catch the Golden Stars at their peak bloom.

Tract #4.   A BRAND NEW PRESERVE REGION!   Ohio Hanging Rock   Acres: 600


Total Cost: 688,500    Balance to Raise: 140,726    

In 20 years, we have never before had the opportunity to dream on this scale. Even today, it wouldn’t be possible if the seller, the Conservation Foundation of America, had not been willing to offer the property to us at a substantial bargain sale. This beautiful Appalachian hill-country site in Scioto County near the town of Minford has some of the most beautiful streams and lush wildflower displays we have ever seen in southeastern Ohio. Equally striking are the large sandstone outcrops at the higher elevations, sheltering many uncommon plants, including Mountain Laurel, Rose Shell Azalea, Pink Lady Slipper, Feather Bells, and Yellow Crown Beard. Significantly, the tract is verified as summer hunting grounds for two federally endangered bats, the Northern Long Eared and the Indiana Bat; and it also shelters dense populations of worm-eating warblers – the signature bird of large unbroken forests in the East. This may be the most exciting acquisition we have ever aspired to yet. The preserve was named for the many abandoned iron smelting furnaces found in the geological region, and industry for which this forest once provided fuel. Later the land was later mined for high quality clay. Our plan is to install a trailhead and hiking trail system so that the cultural history and natural history of this remarkable area can be shared with the general public. Although we must concentrate on the 600 acre tract at the moment, as you can see in the map above, there’s room to grow if we succeed with Phase I. Photo Credits – rock formation at Ohio Hanging Rock – courtesy of Louis Ulman, www.trailsidephoto.com.

Tract #5.   A NEW PRESERVE FOR OHIO!   Glenford Fort Earthworks!   Acres: 65


Total Cost: 460,900   Balance to Raise: 123,550

Whenever we can help create a new nature preserve AND save a major Native American ancient earthworks at the same time, we think it’s the best of two worlds. Glenford Fort Earthworks is a ridgetop ceremonial enclosure – its walls encircling the bluffs of a flat-topped ridge in Perry County near Buckeye Lake, east of Columbus. The property boasts a handsome Appalachian hillside of oaks and hickories that isstudded with beautiful sandstone outcroppings. The 2000 year old walls of the ridgetop enclosure are nearly intact, and made entirely of stacked stone that rise three to six feet high. The acquisition property includes a section of the wall, the main gateway, a natural and dramatic cleft in the exposed bed rock that served as a secondary gateway, and half of square mound that once stood in front of the main entrance. Although Perry County has the fifth highest number of earthworks of any county in Ohio, Glenford Fort would be the first to be preserved and open to the public. A hiking trail system is planned to open in late 2016 or early 2017. The Arc will hold the conservation easement on the property, and will donate the land to Perry County Soil & Water District, the latter serving as the site’s long term managers. Glenford Fort, Newark Earthworks, and Flint Ridge are only a few miles from each other, and composed what was likely an integrated ceremonial landscape for the Hopewell Culture Above photo of secondary gateway – courtesy of Brad Lepper, Ohio History Connection.

Tract #6.   Spargur Lane Entrance.  

Expanding the Highlands Nature Sanctuary    Acres: 2

Total Cost: 36,300    Balance to Raise: COMPLETED!

When it comes to nature preserves, entrances are everything. At 2200 acres, the Highlands Nature Sanctuary is the oldest, and largest of the Arc’s 15 preserves. Earlier in 2015 we had the privilege of purchasing the gateway to the Highlands Nature Sanctuary on Cave Road and Highway 50, a property we have been wanting to secure for 20 years. An email campaign raised the money in just three short weeks, and we are now its proud owner. Since that time, by synchronicity, a second critical Sanctuary entrance has come up for sale this year – this one located at the head of Spargur Lane on State Route 753. The Spargur Lane entrance property overlooks the gorge and lies adjacent to the Ravenwood Lodge. Purchasing this tract will not only add protection to the creek corridor, but will ensure that the tract does not become a developed so close to the creek. Spargur Lane parallels the Rocky Fork Gorge on the west side of the Sanctuary and is a critical gateway leading into several potential land acquisitions along the Rocky Fork Corridor. As you can see form the map above, Spargur Lane leads into a region that offers much room for growth and preservation.

Total Cost for all Projects: $2,281,177  

Balance to Raise for Land Campaign: $471,323

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

Or send a check to: Arc of Appalachia, 7660 Cave Road, Bainbridge, OH 45612

How big can we dream? If you haven’t made a donation to the Arc yet this year, please consider doing so now. There is no gift more enduring than the gift of land. Your donation couldn’t support a more worthy campaign.

 

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Sincerely, Nancy Stranahan, Director, Arc of Appalachia, info@arcofappalachia.org