Students from Shawnee State University and Scioto County residents recently took part in an Earth Day cleanup hosted by the Arc of Appalachia. The crew worked together to beautify Fredrick Road, the main access to the Arc of Appalachia’s Ohio Hanging Rock preserve, removing several truckloads of tires and debris along a two-mile stretch of the road and within the preserve’s boundaries.
The newly formed 750-acre Ohio Hanging Rock preserve protects 10 miles of clear streams and a high density of lush wildflower displays. Nestled in the beautiful Appalachian hill country near South Webster, Hanging Rock serves students and faculty from Shawnee State University as a resource for higher learning. Once an important source for charcoal used in the iron and clay industries of the region, it has since become a hotspot for biodiversity and a significant natural area. Among the state-listed species the preserve supports are Yellow Crown-beard, Small-flowered Alum-root, Feather-bells and Southern Red Oak.
The Arc of Appalachia (Arc) is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving wild places in Ohio. The preserve was acquired through two acquistions, the first in 2016 and the second in 2017. The Arc manages 18 natural areas across the state, promotes forest literacy through educational courses, offer visitor services at three museums, and maintains more than 40 miles of trails. Through their work, they hope to teach about our forest heritage and inspire a global conservation effort in all Ohioans.
“Work days like these are a great way to engage the local community and show the residents of the region that we care,” Arc of Appalachia Board Advisor John Jaeger says. “We feel it is important to keep our preserves, and access to them, clean, safe and beautiful, not just for our supporters and visitors, but for our closet neighbors as well.”
“I’m just so glad that the Arc bought this place so we can continue to enjoy it,” says local resident Brian K. Fenton, who with his daughter Alisha, loaded and hauled out the trash, and recycled the collected dumped tires.
The Arc of Appalachia plans to install a trail system at the preserve that will be open to the public year-round by 2020. The trail system will rely on dedicated volunteers to help install and maintain the trails. Information about becoming a volunteer on a future Ohio Hanging Rock trail committee can be found online at www.arcofappalachia.org or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.