See the wilderness that awaits you in the Edge of Appalachia
• Green salamander
• Allegheny woodrat
• Barn owl
• River otter
• Timber rattlesnake
• Eastern box turtle
• Salamander mussel
• Northern saw-whet owl
• Henslow’s sparrow
• Cerulean warbler
• Indiana bat
• Clubshell mussel
• Tiger swallowtail butterfly
• Hellbender salamander
Ancient forests of massive oaks and American chestnut once blanketed nearly all of what would become southern and eastern Ohio. When the first white settlers arrived in the Ohio Valley, wolves and elk wandered this rustic landscape of pristine rivers and fertile forests.
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 Nature Conservancy’s nearly 17,000-acre 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.
You play an important role in helping Ohio's forests recover when you support our work at the Edge of Appalachia.
What You'll See
The Richard and Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve is one of the most biologically diverse collections of natural systems in the Midwestern U. S., encompassing rugged woodland, prairie openings, waterfalls, giant promontories and clear streams.
Here, within Ohio’s largest privately owned protected natural area, visitors will find mixed mesophytic forests, flowering and medicinal plants, and Appalachian herbs like great rhododendron and Canby’s mountain-lover. Cerulean warblers and other neotropical birds abound during warmer months, while imperiled animals like the Indiana bat, green salamander and Allegheny woodrat persist throughout the year.
All told, more than 100 rare plant and animal species make their home within the preserve system.
The Edge of Appalachia Preserve has a total of 9.5 miles of hiking trails. Download the Edge of Appalachia trailhead location map. Get directions and learn more about the trails:
You can also play a role in the Conservancy’s long-term success in this region when you make a safe and secure online gift to support our global conservation work.
Current Conservation Work
The Edge of Appalachia Preserve is threatened by the invasion of woody species into prairie openings, as well as unsustainable forestry practices and habitat fragmentation in areas surrounding the preserve. In addition, the unauthorized use of off-road vehicles inside the preserve is disturbing habitat and creating favorable conditions for the establishment of non-native weedy plants, which eventually can displace native vegetation.
The Conservancy has been working to combat these threats through land acquisition, education and restoration efforts.
- Land acquisition focuses on consolidating land holdings and linking critical areas within the preserve system, which consist of eleven contiguous preserves that are owned and managed by both the Conservancy and the Cincinnati Museum Center.
- Land management efforts include restoration of glade communities and prairie openings and addressing timber management issues as they relate to local economic development and neo-tropical migrant birds.
- The Conservancy continues to build partnerships with the local community, and public and private entities to develop innovative approaches to compatible economic development.
- Young scientists are gaining knowledge and skills at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve's Science Camp, which takes place every summer. Here, pre-teens and teens have the unique opportunity to assist scientists in the research process.
- Supported by the Conservancy, the Appalachian Discovery Birding and Heritage Trail brochure and map highlights the region’s natural and cultural legacy along a 200-mile route that loops through five southern Ohio counties.
Directions to the Edge of Appalachia
From the north:
• Travel south on U.S. Route 23 to Waverly
• Take State Route 104 south
• Take State Route 32 (the Appalachian Highway) west for about 25 miles to State Route 41 at Peebles
• Follow SR 41 south to West Union
• Turn left (east) onto State Route 125
• Travel east on SR 125 for about 7 miles toward the village of Lynx
• To get to the preserve office, turn south (right) onto Waggoner Riffle Road, the first road east of the St. Rt. 125 bridge over Ohio Brush Creek. The preserve office is located at 4274 Waggoner Riffle Road, about 1.2 miles south of SR 125.
• To visit The Wilderness Preserve, follow SR 125 into Lynx, then turn left onto Lynx Rd. Turn left onto the first gravel road, Shivener, and proceed until the parking lot.
• To visit Lynx Prairie, follow SR 125 into Lynx, then turn right (south) onto Tulip Road. The first driveway on the left is East Liberty Church. Public access to Lynx Prairie is available from a trail beginning in the southeast corner of the cemetery.
• 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 trail begins at the parking lot and crosses south over the highway and continues on.
From the west:
• Travel east on State Route 32 to State Route 41 at Peebles. Follow the directions given above.