The Nature Conservancy’sRichard and Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve
Credit: Ian Adams
West Union, OH 45693
Driving Directions | Website
• From West Union, travel east on SR 125 for about 7 miles toward the village of Lynx.
• The public access to the Buzzardroost Rock trail is a small parking lot on Weaver Road, which is entered from SR 125 just west of Lynx. The Buzzard Roost Rock trail begins at the parking lot, crosses south over the highway and continues on.
At nearly 16,000 acres, The Nature Conservancy’s Richard and Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve is Ohio’s largest privately owned protected natural area. With its forests and prairies, streams and waterfalls, it is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the Midwest. The Edge of Appalachia Preserve has more than 100 rare plant and animal species, many of which can be seen on the seven miles of hiking trails.
The Nature Conservancy has been working to protect this region since 1959, when it established the 42-acre Lynx Prairie—the Conservancy’s first purchase in Ohio.
Today, ambitious Conservancy efforts have grown to include a project that aims to connect the preserve with nearby 63,000-acre Shawnee State Forest. By protecting a 6,000-acre “land bridge” between the two entities, the Conservancy will create the largest contiguous protected forest in the state.
Why It Matters
Ancient forests of massive oaks and American chestnut once blanketed nearly all of what would become southern and eastern Ohio. Yet by the early 1900s, about 90 percent of the original forest cover had been cleared to make room for farmland and to feed the iron furnaces of southern Ohio – severely degrading part of North America’s oldest and most biologically diverse forest systems.
Today, Ohio’s Appalachian forests are returning, with nearly 40 percent of the region cloaked in mixed hardwood forest. The Edge of Appalachia Preserve is a key component of this recovery process, mending habitats on a large scale and preserving the landscape’s unique natural legacy.
The preserve’s forests not only are a haven for wildlife like bobcat, green salamander and migratory birds, but also clean our air and drinking water and help to soak up heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide to regulate our climate.
Natural Treasures Landmark
Join hundreds of others who have chronicled their adventures! Take a picture of yourself at Buzzardroost Rock at Edge of Appalachia and upload it to our site
Fun Things to Do and See
While on the hunt for the landmark, enjoy the abundant adventures this Ohio treasure has to offer. The thrill of nature can be experienced at any level!
- Wear your red, white and green to celebrate the three interconnecting loop trails you’ll be walking within the Lynx Prairie. Also be sure to wear your comfortable shoes for this 1.5-mile flat walk. You won’t have to look hard to enjoy the prairie grasses like Indian grass and big bluestem, and beautiful purple and yellow coneflowers. Look for fence lizards on the dolomite rocks.
- Make sure to take photos of the native Virginia pine and red cedars. Do you hear the prairie warblers in the red cedars? And if you see the two-foot-high purple and yellow flowering spikes of the crested coralroot, be sure to share your experience on our Facebook page. This unique member of the orchid family mostly grows underground!
- Hike the trail to Buzzardroost Rock to take in one of the most breathtaking views in all of Ohio. Do you see any turkey vultures flying overhead? During this three-mile-roundtrip adventure, make note of two distinct rock strata, Peebles dolomite, a type of limestone, and Ohio shale. Prairie occurs more often on the calcareous dolomite, while the oak-hickory forests prefer the acidic shale soils. Let us know which is your favorite!
- Allow about three hours to enjoy the seclusion of the 2.5 mile loop of the Wilderness Trail at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve. You’ll travel deep into the woods as you experience the rare Appalachian bluff white cedar woodland plant community. Some of these cedars growing close to the cliff edges are estimated to be several hundred years old. The smooth flattened leaves of the white cedars stand in sharp contrast to the prickly leaves of the more common red cedar found throughout the preserve.
- Did you see a tiger swallowtail butterfly, scarlet tanager, box turtle, prairie wildflowers or fossils in the rocks? Let us know the best part of your adventure by sharing your photos and updates on our Facebook page!