Stone Canyon Preserve
A 146.6-acre property with a large box canyon and steep rock outcrops in Fairfield County just south of Lancaster
Stone Canyon Preserve is a 146.6-acre property in Fairfield County just south of Lancaster, Ohio. The Stone Canyon property includes a large box canyon with approximately 6,800 linear feet of Black Hand Sandstone outcrops that extend around the canyon sides. Steep, cascading stone outcrops on some sections of the canyon walls are approximately 150 feet high. The property contains extensive Black Hand Sandstone features and formations including several caves that are suitable for wildlife habitat. There is a small, double step waterfall at the back of the canyon.
Stone Canyon has one of the largest stands of the Great Rhododendron, a state-listed plant species, in the State of Ohio. These plants are found along the sandstone outcrop line in thick masses. The rhododendron on the Stone Canyon property are extensions of the stands on the neighboring Hintz Farm property. They are surviving at the northern extent of the rhododendron habitat in a microenvironment created by glaciation activity which isolated some populations. This stand of rhododendron is unique in that it is a remnant population which is thought to have extended along the pre-glacial Teay’s river and been separated from the southern species by glacial activity.
A recent survey of the adjacent Hintz farm property identified Selaginella rupestris, Rock Spike moss, located on a rock formation close to the Stone Canyon/Hintz boundary. This moss was presumed to be extirpated from Ohio until its recent discovery by State of Ohio botanists.
Ohio orchids observed in Stone Canyon include the following: Putty Root (Aplectrum hyemale), Pink Lady Slipper (Cypripedium acaule), Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens), Ragged Fringed Orchid (Platanthera lacera), and Cranefly Orchid (Tipularia discolor). Other significant plant species observed in the preserve include black cohosh, Canada mayflower, wild ginger, American spikenard, mountain laurel, serviceberry, American hornbeam, witch hazel, American holly, jack-in-the pulpit, and cucumber root.
AOA is planning to re-vegetate the existing historic agricultural field on the Stone Canyon property, with a native grassland/prairie mix. This reintroduction of native species and planting of riparian corridors will improve the runoff, retention and infiltration characteristics of the site and improve water quality.