42 acres that demonstrate land and water stewardship/restoration practices in Hocking County
The AOA continues to develop its demonstration site in the Hocking Hills to highlight our land and water conservation and stewardship mission. This site, also known as the Gosnell Preserve, provides demonstration, outreach and educational opportunities for the local community, landowners and visitors to the area.
The demonstration site incorporates and builds upon the conservation vision and leadership of Clyde Gosnell whose land and water stewardship and habitat restoration practices are existing features on the property. Located just north of Rockbridge and south of Clear Creek Metro Park, the demonstration site property is adjacent to US Route 33 and provides excellent visibility and accessibility to visitors.
The nucleus of the demonstration site is a 42-acre parcel donated to AOA by the Gosnell family. AOA has supplemented this 42-acre core site with purchases and conservation easements on adjacent properties. These properties include the 5.2-acre Fox Bluff, the 1.0-acre McCabe, and the 26.7- acre Bonnoront properties all owned by AOA. Also included are the 102-acre Matthias Grove and 9.9-acre Richards Conservation Easements located on the west side of US Route 33.
The demonstration site is intended to serve as a “one-stop shop” where visitors can experience a variety of natural habitats typical of the greater Hocking Hills region including bottomland forest, upland forest, prairie, vernal pool, pond, wetland and river and steam riparian habitats. The site has been designed to allow visitors to observe and learn firsthand from a range of conservation, stewardship and management activities and demonstrations carried out and promoted by AOA and our partners. In addition, the site provides opportunities to promote the compatible work of our comparable and collaborative partners.
The demonstration site project continues to feature inputs and assistance from a consortium of respected conservation, stewardship and nature-based education and recreation organizations that are active in the Hocking Hills region and partners in our efforts. Participating partners include but are not limited to the Buckeye Trail Association, Columbus Audubon, Columbus Metro Parks, Friends of the Hocking River, the Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative, the ODNR Division of Forestry, Rural Action, The Hocking River Commission, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, United Plant Savers and the USDA Athens/Hocking County Farm Services Agency.
This site includes Hocking River frontage and approximately 35 acres of prairie vegetation. The site has been recently used for AOA public events that include: a butterfly walk, Hocking River fish surveys, tree planting, bluebird house monitoring and a prairie burn.
Stewardship work on the site has included small tree and invasives removal, a prairie burn and tree planting.