Cave Road Invasive Work Day

Join the Cave Road Crazy Clippers Crew!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

10:00 am to mid-afternoon.. Meet at the Appalachian Forest Museum parking lot (directions below)


Our Workday.

Cave Road is the epicenter of the Highlands Nature Sanctuary, with miles of hiking trails, overnight lodges and the Appalachian Forest Museum. It is also an epicenter for much of our invasive plant removal work. Invasive plants such as garlic mustard, bush honeysuckle, privet and multi-flora rose have become a problem for this preserve. During this work day, we will remove invasive plants along Cave Road.

Leader: Pat Claeys & Lewis Ulman


Highlands Nature Sanctuary’s Natural History

The Highlands Nature Sanctuary, the largest of the Arc of Appalachia’s preserves, lies between Rocky Fork State Park and Paint Creek State Park along the Rocky Fork Gorge in Bainbridge, Ohio. The Rocky Fork Creek, which runs through the middle of the preserve, is one of the Eastern Forest’s geologic treasures. Abrupt canyon walls rise up on either side of the creek up to 100 vertical feet, forming a narrow canyon composed of Silurian-aged dolomite. Over the millennia, huge blocks of stone have cleaved away from the canyon wall, creating a labyrinth of rock-scapes.

There is no place in the world like the Rocky Fork Gorge in the spring. Not only do flowers grow in abundance in the loamy neutral soils of the canyon floor, but even the vertical stone walls and fallen boulders are covered with a living blanket of flowers: including snow, sessile and large-flowered trilliums, bishop’s-cap, stonecrop, shooting stars, wild ginger, celandine wood poppy, rue anemone, and columbine. Only limestone-based rocks fed with generous rainfall can produce such profusion — giving the mythical appearance of rocks dissolving into flowers — which, in terms if science, is quite true. Hikers walking in the gorge the third week of April find themselves in a landscape lush with a high diversity of flowers, during which time the Sanctuary is host to the annual Southern Ohio Wildflower Pilgrimage, a yearly celebration of this phenomenon.


Physical Requirements

No invasive removal experience is necessary for this work day, the tasks don’t take a lot of physical endurance and strength. Sawing or cutting invasive woody shrubs and canes at their bases does require squatting close to the ground, so workers on this task need flexibility and good joints. We will be applying herbicide in small quantities to the cut stems of the woody invasives, Volunteers will be trained in safe application.

What to Bring

Bring a bottle of drinking water and a lunch for each day. If you are coming to remove woody plants and do not have prescription glasses, bring a pair of sunglasses for eye protection. We also recommend wearing footwear with a good tread, and a brimmed hat to keep the sun off your face. And don’t forget your rain coat! If you have your own clippers, garden gloves with rubber coated protection, and light handsaws, bring them along. If you don’t, we can share our tools with you. Poison ivy will not be a major problem in the fall or early spring since the leaves are not out  However, if you are extra sensitive to this allergen, it’s best to stay out of the meadows any time of the year, and we recommend that you choose projects that work primarily in the forest and stay out of the meadows. Bugs will not be a problem.


Please contact Kayla Hanning with any questions at or 937-365-1935.


Appalachian Forest Museum, 7660 Cave Road, Bainbridge, OH 45612

Highlands Nature Sanctuary is located in Highland County in south central Ohio, approximately 25 miles west of Chillicothe, and 17 miles east of Hillsboro, four miles west of Bainbridge, and four miles east of Rainsboro, It lies one mile south of Highway 50 on Cave Road. Cave Road is located immediately east of the bridge over the Rocky Fork Creek. Watch for the highway signs. Turn south on Cave Road and follow for one mile until you reach the Appalachian Forest Museum. Parking is on the left hand side, across the road from the Museum.


The Rocky Fork Gorge view from the deck at the Appalachian Forest Museum

Pat Claeys caring for tree frog tadpoles at Ridgeview Farm. 

One of the overnight lodges located on Cave Road, Leatherwood. Photo by Ken Schory
Trillium pyramid located on the Valley of the Ancients trail
Photo By Tom Croce Photography