Natural Areas volunteer Eric Hart stands next to one of the massive old growth post oak trees found at the Miriam Walter Barrens State Nature Preserve. Submitted photo.

Land donation creates first state nature preserve in Meigs County

Donor honors parents with State Nature Preserve Name

 
POMEROY, Ohio – A generous land donation is helping the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Natural Areas and Preserves (DNAP) protect a globally rare limestone barren habitat in what will be the first state nature preserve in Meigs County. 
 
“This kind donation is a wonderful gift to the people of Ohio,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “Our staff is eager to begin improving and protecting this rare habitat for generations to come.”
 

The 46-acre preserve has a variety of bedrock types at or near the surface that influence the habitats on the site. The site contains oak barren habitats, including limestone barrens that are very rare in southeast Ohio.

Miriam Walter Barrens State Nature Preserve is home to the only known extant population of the state threatened cylindric or slender blazing star (Liatris cylindracea) in eastern Ohio. Submitted photo.


“There are a handful of remaining examples of limestone barrens in southeast Ohio, and few match the quality of those at Miriam Walter Barrens,” DNAP Chief Botanist Rick Gardner said. “A suite of uncommon and rare species occurs here, including the state threatened cylindrical blazing-star.”

Named in honor of the parents of the property’s donor, Miriam Walter Barrens Preserve will be Ohio’s 139th State Nature Preserve and the 3rdadded this year. Due to the sensitive habitats and species, the preserve will only be open to the public by acquiring a permit from the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. The property donor plans to volunteer with the Division in improving the rare barrens.

This massive old growth post oak is one of several found at the Miriam Walter Barrens State Nature Preserve. Submitted photo.

The associated acquisition costs for the new preserve were covered by the Natural Areas Tax Checkoff Fund.  Donations are used to protect and preserve some of Ohio’s rarest habitats. DNAP uses the funds to increase education and visitor experience at State Nature Preserves across Ohio.  To find out more about this program and the Division, please visit www.ohiodnr.gov.