If our campaign to buy the 85-acre Huckleberry Ridge is successful, the tract will provide our first access to 200 acres of Tremper Mound Preserve’s westernmost holdings, permitting the development of back-country hiking trails for preserve visitors.
Tremper Mound is more than history. It is also a beautiful natural area. Because Tremper is understandably viewed as a historical preserve, the masterful expressions of Hopewell artistry and mortuary ritual uncovered here will forever underscore the historical magnitude of Tremper Mound’s surrounding landscape. Even beyond the intoxicating cultural history of this place, Tremper Mound’s Appalachian wilderness is integral to the preserve’s deepest purpose and lasting legacy.
Steep-sided 1000-foot elevation sandstone ridge-tops – covered in mixed hardwood forests – tower above both the Lower Scioto River and the sinuous turns of Pond Creek that dissect the preserve. In the spring, floral denizens of the forest understory offer lovely displays of l trillium, bloodroot, black cohosh, yellow mandarin, twinleaf, wild comfrey, showy orchis, wild ginger, long-spurred violet, and more. The thin soils of the steep hillsides boast a diverse array of heaths, ferns, mosses, and lichens.
Close, but far, far away. And yet, all of these rich expressions of the natural beauty of Tremper Mound’s hill country are inaccessible to visitors because the only way to reach them is to cross Pond Creek, a waterway too large to ford by foot, and too wide to span with a bridge. Imagine then, how thrilled I was to hear that a property was for sale that could unlock access to the isolated western reaches of Tremper Mound.
Huckleberry Ridge remedies our access problems to a forest wilderness! We are now in contract to purchase 85 acres of the forested woodlands known as Huckleberry Ridge. If our fund-raising drive is successful, the acquisition will provide hikers with stunning ridge-top vistas looking into the heart of Tremper’s remote hill country. To get to Huckleberry Ridge from Tremper, one simply drives south on OH-104 and it is the next property on the right after crossing over Pond Creek Bridge. This bridge handsomely solves the problem of how to transport our visitors to the other side of the creek without having to swim! Huckleberry Ridge is the perfect location for our future hiking trailhead and I have my fingers crossed that we will succeed in securing it. In the meantime, please remember that, for now, it remains private land.
Old Housing Development. Remarkably, at the base of the property’s steep-sided hill is a wide, level piece of ground that back in the ‘50s had been subdivided into 50 small housing lots. Those parcels are still duly recorded at the courthouse. In the thick stand of young cottonwood trees that have now reclaimed the land, it is wondrous to see dozens of shiny red fire hydrants lining the platted but unbuilt roadways.
Hiking Trails Planned for Huckleberry Ridge. If we succeed in raising the necessary funds to buy Huckleberry Ridge, it will serve as our primary trailhead for the wilder areas of the preserve, providing long-distance trails for avid hikers seeking the peace of a wilderness setting, and spectacular ridgetop views.
Tremper Mound’s Riparian Forest. Tremper Mound protects an outstanding 6.17 miles of forest corridor, including 3.56 miles of Pond Creek’s main stem and primary headwaters, and 1.30 miles of riparian corridor along the Scioto River. The riparian forest – long missing from the fertile floodplain of the lower Scioto that is today entirely occupied by farmlands – is being restored on the 200-acre lower terrace bordering the preserve’s mile-long stretch of the Scioto River – serving as a welcome sanctuary for migrating birds.
Pond Creek – intact macroinvertebrates and fish community. Pond Creek, which drains and runs through the center of Tremper Farm, has 28 species of fish and earned an outstanding EPA IBI score of 54 – perfect being 60.
Lower Scioto is a State-Significant Reservoir for Fish Species. The lower Scioto, as it approaches its confluence with the Ohio River, is a significant site for rare fish associated with large waterways. Tremper Mound is located on the Scioto River between river miles 5.0 to 10.00. Here, 61 species of fish have been reported, with noteworthy listings that include the shortnose Gar (state threatened), Blue Sucker (state threatened), River Redhorse (species of concern), American Eel (state threatened), and River Darter (state threatened). The lower Scioto is also known for rare mussels.
Intact Appalachian Hill-country Forests & spring ephemerals. The steep unglaciated sandstone/shale hillsides found at Tremper Mound are low in pH and grow classic Appalachia hardwood species, including oaks, hickories, sugar maple, beech, poplar and black gum. Some of these trees have reached impressive sizes, such as the one seen at right. Acid Appalachian soils like these rarely grow the density of wildflowers that more basic soils can support, but they do offer a wider diversity of species. These include yellow mandarin, fire pinks, showy orchis, twinleaf, twayblade orchid, ginseng, goldenseal, wild comfrey, twinleaf, bear-corn, wild ginger, rattlesnake plantain, white baneberry, partridge berry, large-leaf waterleaf, toadflax, dwarf larkspur, sweet William wild phlox, rue anemone, long-spurred violet, Virginia bluebells, Solomon’s seal, Jack-in-the-Pulpit and a large diversity of ferns.
Amphibian Rich Wetlands. Tremper Mound protects 68 acres of wetland habitat that support high populations of breeding wood frogs and spotted salamanders, and thousands of spring peepers that can be heard singing in April.
Firefly-Watching Destination. Tremper Mound’s wet fields produce prodigious crops of fireflies of many species, including the mezmerizing slow flashes of the. Chinese Lanterns.Because of the spectacular nature of the displays, the Arc intends to include Tremper in its line-up of firefly watching destinations teach June. Check out our educational event postings on this website.
Looking over the rim of Huckleberry Ridge.
Looking westward from Huckleberry Ridge into the immense forested block of Shawnee State Forest and privately owned woodlands.
Pond Creek boasts an unsually pretty waterfalls inside the preserve.
The preserve’s mile-long border on the Lower Scioto River shelters a large diversity of fish, some of them rare.