Genevieve Jones Preserve
299-acres of former golf course property adjacent to the Scioto River and Walnut Creek in Pickaway County
The Genevieve Jones Preserve properties were acquired by AOA in 2021 and 2022. These properties consisted of a 299-acre golf course adjacent to the Scioto River and Walnut Creek in Pickaway County, South Bloomfield, Ohio and a nearby 37-acre property along Walnut Creek and US Route 23.
The preserve was named in honor of Genevieve Jones, a 19th century Circleville ornithologist and initial author of what became the Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio, intended as a companion to the Audubon Birds of America.
The two properties contain numerous lakes and wetlands adjacent to Walnut Creek and the Scioto River. Both properties attract thousands of migrating waterfowl. The conservation of the 299-acre property protected 3,485 linear feet of riparian corridor along Walnut Creek and almost one mile of riparian corridor along the Scioto River. Both waterways have exceptional water quality in this reach. The Scioto River at this location is designated Superior State Waters.
Twenty-five acres of the originally purchased property were transferred by AOA to the Pickaway County Park District to be used for a Community Nature Center. Park District staff will have their offices on site and will assist in the monitoring and management of the adjacent nature preserve.
An existing 17,000 square foot Golf Clubhouse building will be converted by the County into a Nature Center building. The current 5.25-mile concrete and asphalt cart path will be reduced in length and converted into a nature trail. The Community Nature Center, nature trails and wildlife viewing areas will be an important recreational asset to the local community and the State of Ohio.
The large Circleville esker, a unique geological feature, bisects the Preserve north to south and provides valuable upland and habitat diversity adjacent to the floodplain areas. Groundwater from the esker supports the adjacent forested wetland areas.
The property has bottomland hardwood forests of cottonwood, sycamore, swamp white oak, silver maple, smaller American elms, box elder and hackberry. The forests are in various stages of secondary succession. A few large diameter sycamore trees exist along the Scioto River and Walnut Creek.
The National Heritage Database indicates that seven (7) species of state-listed mussels live in this segment of Walnut Creek. A total of fifteen listed aquatic species live in the stretch of the Scioto River along the Cooks Creek property. The protection of this riparian corridor assures that aquatic habitat suitable to support these threatened or endangered species will continue to exist.
The Preserve properties have exceptional wildlife and aquatic life potential that will be realized once transformed from a high intensity, heavily manicured golf course into a nature preserve. The proposed conversion of floodplain fairways on the property into new wetland areas will greatly enhance the wildlife habitat available for migrating waterfowl, songbirds, bats and other species that utilize the Scioto River Flyway Corridor. Thousands of waterfowl typically use this flyway corridor during the early spring and fall migration periods. The following article provides more information on the Preserve.