If you want to avoid the pavement and crowds in town this summer, consider taking a short trip to the Meigs SWCD Conservation Area where more than two miles of hiking and walking trails await.
The Conservation Area, created in 2003, is located on New Lima Road in between the Meigs County communities of Rutland and Harrisonville. At this time of year, the area is chock-full of wildlife and wild flowers.
The Pauline Atkins Trail is approximately 1.5 miles long and loops up along the base of the old coal mining highwall; it is moderately challenging in places as it climbs or descends the hill. The Atkins Trail, created in 2006, passes through some meadows and different types of woodlots, and is named in honor of former Meigs SWCD Supervisor Pauline H. Atkins who passed away on Jan. 2, 2006. The trail connects to the Wetland Trail, and a quarter-mile-long shortcut trail bisects the Atkins Trail.
The Wetland Trail, opened in 2015, starts at the parking lot and passes around the wetland and then connects to the Atkins Trail a half-mile later.
The crushed gravel, quarter-mile walking path loops around the field next to the shelterhouse; while there check out the old foundation of what used to be Oscar Chase’s Cannery.
I just mowed a new temporary path (you could call it the Coneflower Trail) that cuts through a planted prairie across the road from the parking lot – this path features plenty of pollinator-friendly plants like Bee Balm, Common and Swamp Milkweed, Butterfly Weed, Purple and Gray Coneflowers, to name a few, mixed in amongst the prairie grasses like Indian Grass and Big Bluestem.
I would recommend early morning or evening while it is somewhat cool and the birds are more active. Park in the parking lot and walk directly across New Lima Road to the beginning of the trail.
In addition, the grassy area between the shelterhouse and the wetland is once again rich in Swamp Milkweed and last year we had a crop of Monarch butterflies, so if you pay attention you may see Monarch butterflies or their chrysalises there.
What to know before you go:
Wear weather-appropriate clothing and footwear suitable for outdoor activity; bring sunscreen and insect repellent;
Anticipate steep hills, mud, water, rocks, briars, poison ivy, bugs, and snakes;
Avoid playing near high walls and never enter old coal mining auger holes or other entrances;
Generally, cell phones do NOT work at the Conservation Area;
Be respectful of other people who may be at the Conservation Area and leave it cleaner than you found it.
As always, parking is only allowed at designated areas and the trails are limited to foot traffic only; motorized vehicles are strictly forbidden.
Farm Pesticide Collection set for Aug. 22
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is sponsoring a collection for farmers wanting to dispose of unwanted pesticides on Tuesday, Aug. 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Albany Independent Fairgrounds in Albany.
The pesticide collection and disposal service is free of charge, but only farm chemicals will be accepted. Paint, antifreeze, solvents, and household or non-farm pesticides will not be accepted.
Pesticide collections are sponsored by the ODA in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To pre-register or for more information, contact the ODA at 614-728-6987.
Jim Freeman is the wildlife specialist for the Meigs Soil and Water Conservation District. He can be contacted weekdays at 740-992-4282 or at firstname.lastname@example.org