Ohio River Bluffs Preserve

Gateway to the Boone  Preserve Region

Acres: 2.0      Project Total:  $22,500

Project Completion: 42% 

Balance to Raise:  $12,898

 

The Boone Tract is a component of the 300-acre Ohio River Bluffs Preserve, a region of steep corridor of limestone cliffs bordering the Ohio River 65 miles east of Cincinnati on Highway 52. Whereas most of the Bluff’s acreage lies just west of of the river village of Manchester; the Boone Tract lies further west near Aberdeen. The 33-acre tract was donated to the Arc of Appalachia back in 2005 by the three Boone sisters: Josie, Patsy and Naomi.

Region of Incomprehensibly Dense Wildflower Spectacles. The floral showcases of Ohio River Bluffs turn the region’s winter-brown cliffs into an enchanted landscape of color each spring. Acres and acres of bluebells run halfway up the bluffs facing the Ohio River – stopping drivers on US-52 who pull off the road to gawk at the sight in early April. Dwarf Larkspur drench the steep hillsides in hues of deep purple. Toad shade Trillium and Wild Hyacinth abound. Ohio River Bluffs has one of the most beautiful floral displays in all of Eastern United States.

Notable Botanicals. The Boone Preserve boasts many of the same flowers as does the main holdings of Ohio River Bluffs, but it also shelters several uncommon plant species. Seven of them are on the Ohio Watch List. Two of particular interest are mistletoe and cross vine, both primarily species of southeastern U.S.A. Ohio is on the northern boundary of both plant’s distribution. It is not uncommon to see mistletoe’s spherical mass of twigs and leathery leaves high in the canopy of the preserve region’s trees. Cross-vine, with its large yellow-burgundy clusters of tubular blossoms, belongs to the distinctively tropical Bignonia family.

Towering Trees of impressive girth. The Boone preserve region boasts magnificent old trees of great girth. It also is characterized by extremely steep slopes that sometimes require arms as well as legs to power up the sides of. One of the preserve’s historical features is an old stone fence running up the hillside, a remnant of the land’s past service as pasture for some industrious early settler. We suspect the attempt to farm the site’s nearly vertical hillsides almost surely ended in disappointment.

Throughout the 16 years the Arc has owned this botanical gem, the Boone Preserve has never had road access, making it challenging for our staff to provide stewardship. Consequently we were thrilled to find a two-acre tract listed for sale that would link the Boone Preserve directly with US-52. Having site access will make stewarding the Boone region a feasibility; and make sharing the site with others a real possibility.

 

Towering Red Oak Tree with one of the Boone family donors, Josie Winterhalter
Crossvine blooming at Boone. Photo by Deb Marsh