Tremper Mound Preserve

Master Plan for Development


The unification of Tremper Mound under a single preservation organization, the Arc of Appalachia, is a historic event. For the first time since the European immigrants set foot in the Ohio valley, this globally-significant site will be unified, enduringly protected and publicly accessible.

Extensive archaeological studies scheduled. The foundation for the interpretation of the Hopewell culture and other indigenous history at the Tremper Mound rests on first executing a complete archaeological survey of the property of the wide terraces bordering the Scioto River, and the rolling fields surrounding Tremper Mound.  Researchers will be using magnetometers, Lidar, and other resources will draw the most accurate overall picture of the site that has ever been completed. These advanced diagnostic tools will reveal images of the larger property’s archaeological features without the necessity of excavation.

Magnetometers detect below ground differences in the magnetic properties of different soils, man-made features, and artifacts that result in a surprisingly accurate picture of what lies several feet below the surface of the soil. Lidar produces an image that detects almost imperceptible changes in elevation. Yet, seen from above these topographical Lidar pictures often reveal large scale geometric mound features that are virtually invisible to the naked eye.

The size and scope of Hopewell era earthworks are awe inspiring, as is their advanced understanding of complex concepts like geometry and celestial cycles.

EXCITING FUTURE!! We will be tracking down “lost” archaeological sites at Tremper. In the archives of the Ohio Historic Preservation Office are records of other archaeological sites at Tremper Mound that have gone under our culture’s radar, including one significantly sized mound not too far away from Tremper Mound. Our planned magnetometry studies will almost certainly recover the location of these sites so that they can be given special protection, as well as public interpretation. To say that this endeavor is exciting is an understatement!

Natural History Spectacles – Birds, Butterflies, Vernal Pools & Fireflies. The Scioto River valley and its tributary, Pond Creek, that crosses the greater Tremper Mound preserve, are rich in natural history. During the flush of new life in spring, vernal pools fill with teeming masses of breeding frogs, salamanders, and toads. In Tremper Mound’s forested hillsides there are locations where carpets of twinleaf cover the hillsides.

As the Scioto River snakes its way south for a full mile bordering the Tremper Mound property, the river corridor acting as a sheltered riparian highway. The fringe of woodlands – soon to be expanded in size – come alive with resident and migrating birds. Some seasonal avian travelers begin from points as far north as the Arctic to as far south as South America. All find food and shelter for their journey in the midst of the abundant life resting in the valley of the Scioto River.

Each year in June the meadowlands bordering the Scioto are the launching pad for thousands upon thousands of twinkling fireflies, the silent sparks of summer, including the breathtaking Chinese Lanterns. Education events are planned to celebrate ALL of these seasonal spectacles.

Hiking Trails Planned. A trail system will provide visitors the chance to explore the banks of the Scioto, an Indian word for deer. Near the Scioto River a bird blind will be constructed to allow avian enthusiasts an opportunity to quietly commune with both resident and migrating birds plying the valley of the Scioto.

Scioto River Access. Paddlers will appreciate the new parking area affording walk-in public access to the banks of the Scioto River. From this point canoeists and kayakers are 7.3 miles from the mouth of the Scioto on the Ohio River.

New Staff Member for the Arc of Appalachia. The size and scope of the Tremper Mound project surpasses any previous undertaking by the Arc. A resident manager will be hired to administer visitor services and land stewardship for the exceptionally diverse 622-acre preserve, as well as secure protection of the archaeological sites. The site manager will also help visitors cultivate a more complete understanding of Tremper Mound’s extensive indigenous history as well as interpret the preserve’s rich natural history. The smaller home acquired near the mound will be developed into a manager residence.

Education Center & Overnight Lodge. The larger manor house near the mound will be developed into and education center as well as offer lodging for guests – boasting a sunrise view of Tremper Mound and the Scioto River valley beyond.

Southern Ohio is the epicenter for the Hopewell moundbuilding cultures and offers a rich legacy of natural communities of plants and animals. This is our land’s true and enduring heritage. It is the mission of the Arc of Appalachia to foster a deeper and more profound connection between visitors and the legacy of the land between Lake Erie and the Ohio River that we now call Ohio.

Archived record of "lost" mound on the Tremper Mound property

A record in the Ohio Historic Preservation Office shows evidence of another large mound on the Tremper Mound property not far from the Tremper Mound feature. Upcoming Magnetometry research is almost certain to relocate this important archaeological feature.

William C. Mill's excavation of Tremper Mound back in 1915.

The above-ground magnetometry studies scheduled in 2022 will cover MUCH more ground than William C. Mill’s excavation of Tremper Mound in 1915, and will reveal significant amounts of data without having to disturb the soil nor the archaeological record.

Sunrise on Tremper Mound as seen from the Manor House.

Sunrise over Tremper Mound as viewed from the manor house, one of three properties being purchased by the Arc to put Tremper Mound back together again.

Tremper Mound as seen from US-104

Tremper Mound as seen from OH-104.

Firefly showcase by Brian Prose

Firefly showcase: starry constellations above and the silent sparks of fireflies below. Photo by Brian Prose.

Tremper Mound is the newest link in a growing chain of Arc preserves that will help people strengthen their sense of place and strengthen their kinship with the native animals with whom they share common ground.