Funded in 2016 by an Ohio EPA Environmental Education Fund Grant, the Reclaim Trail guides hikers through the story of past land use and its consequences, current restoration efforts both intentional and natural, and how the power of sanctuary can heal the land and spread biodiversity.
Begin your hike by walking up an earthen “ramp” that will take you past the Heart Pond and to the shoulder of the ridge. In 1963, there would have been large dump trucks full of coal creeping down this trail and then on to the Ohio River where they would feed power plants and fill barges.
Once at the top of the ramp you will be standing in front of the “high wall”. Until relatively recent times the stone outcroppings you see would have been hidden as layers of rock strata under many thousands of years worth of topsoil. The high wall on this land was exposed during the process of coal extraction.
Continue on the Reclaim Trail as it winds along with the high wall on your right, and contoured mounds of overburden that once covered the coal seam below the trail to your left.
If it is the right season, keep an eye out for tadpoles, toads, frogs, and salamanders that take advantage of the vernal long ponds below the high wall.
Leaving the forest canopy you will enter an open field containing native plants and trees such as goldenrod, ironweed, and hawthorn to name a few. In addition, there are several non-native plants including multi flora rose, lespedeza, and autumn olive. These non-native and potentially invasive plants were introduced as part of the reclamation process because of their ability to quickly spread, create organic matter and fix nitrogen in the soil.
You can now return to the beginning of the trail by following Split Rock Trail to Main Hollow Trail to Medicine Trail to Prairie Walk. Take some time to enjoy Heart Pond before heading down the hill to the Prairie. Here you will have a chance to see many prairie plants that are native to this region.