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Home > Magazine > Nature > Arc of Appalachia Preserves in Ohio

Arc of Appalachia Preserves in Ohio
January 25, 2010

Friends of ours told me about an amazing natural area. It's the Arch of Appalachia Preserves in South Central Ohio (near Chillicothe) and it's the most naturally diverse area in the USA, I recall them saying.

It's a last remnant of old growth forests in the East and it's been pieced back together into a network of eleven amazing preserves since 1995.

From their website I read that it's the last intact example of the most disturbed of the 14 standard biomes of the world: the temperate broadleaf forest.

What's more this is the motherland of the Hopewell Indians and it's rich in ancient civilization sites like the mysterious Serpent Mound.

I'm a bit chagrined to say that most of our wanderings take place in our own state of Michigan or to family out west. A Michigander's common getaway is "up north." We've been remiss in not exploring such wonderfully rich areas just to the southeast of us and we plan to correct this asap.

From the Arc's website:

The Arc's forest preservation work lies in the Arc of Appalachia, a region located in southern Ohio on the leading edge of the Cumberland Plateau which boasts unusually rich natural diversity and an uncommonly dense native forest cover. The Arc's first preserve region -- The Highlands Nature Sanctuary -- was founded in 1995 in the botanically and geologically rich cave region of the Rocky Fork Gorge. This beautiful preserve region, filled with springs, caves, rare plants and stunning rock cliffs, is already 2,000 acres in size and growing nearly every year.

In addition to the Highlands, twelve other preserve regions have been established along the ninety mile crescent of the Arc of Appalachia which outlines the leading edge of the Appalachian foothills. The Arc begins in the Hopewell Culture's "motherland" of Chillicothe, Ohio. On its southern tip it extends across the Ohio River into northern Kentucky, where the Arc aspires to expand its preservation work. Over 3,000 acres of protected forests and associated Eastern ecosystems in Ohio have been conserved to date, including the acquisition of old-growth forest patches in the Highlands.

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