Outstanding Geological Scenery & Botanical Treasures
The dolomite bedrock of Chalet Nivale creates a compelling karst-country landscape of springs, seeps, grottos, and sinkholes. These alkaline soils and bedrocks are renowned for producing a diverse assemblage of rare and endangered wildflowers, ferns and shrubs, including herbs with prairie-associations, such as Climbing Milkvine, Stiff Gentian and Tall Larkspur. Ancient White Cedar Trees, isolated hundreds of miles south of their normal range in the North Woods, cling to the bluffs of the cliffs. Chalet Nivale also shelters one of the largest colonies of Snow Trillium in Ohio.They are usually the first of the spring wildflowers to emerge, usually in mid to late March, and the tiny flowers are often caught in a late winter snowfall. Other rare spring wildflowers at Chalet Nivale include the limestone-loving Walter’s Violet, the smallest-flowering violet in Eastern United States.
Two of Ohio’s Cleanest Streams
State researchers from Ohio Division of Wildlife were stunned to discover that Chalet Nivale’s two headwater streams earned a virtually unheard-of “perfect” or near perfect Biotic Integrity Index Scores. The two streams are the highest-ranked waterways in the entire Scioto Brush watershed. What these scores mean to the layman is that they possess a high diversity of fish species for their size, exceptionally clean water, and a high-production of aquatic insects and invertebrates which fuel the richness of the aquatic ecosystem. By preserving Chalet Nivale, the Arc has not only protected a treasure house of plant species, but has ensured that the excellent water quality of its splendid streams will be protected for all time.
History of Chalet Nivale’s Preservation
For decades, botanists in Ohio have raved about the botanical hotspot on Bacon Flat Road in Adams County. When a cabin was developed on the site in the 1980’s, many of Ohio’s naturalists feared the worst for the future of the plant diversity. The foreboding increased when a large addition was added to the cabin in the 1990’s. It was a great conservation victory when, in 2004, the Arc purchased Chalet Nivales’ first two tracts which protected most of the Snow Trilliums, totaling 15 acres and found a preserve caretaker to live in the residence. In 2008 a third tract was purchased expanding the preserve to 106 acres and protecting most of the watershed of two exceptionally pristine tributaries of the Scioto Brush Creek as well as outstanding rock formations.
Volunteers Sought for Land Preservation
Three non-native invasive plants – barberry, bush honeysuckle, and multiflora rose – are a serious threat to Ohio’s native ecosystems, including Chalet Nivale. The lush displays of wildflowers on our Arc preserves now depend on volunteers to ensure their presence, and to guarantee their capacity to inspire and uplift future generations of visitors. Please subscribe to our E-news and manually click on volunteer event announcements in your preference settings. Also, click here for listing of all upcoming volunteer events.