“Preserving a Dream”

Arch of Appalachia“The Arc of Appalachia nature preserves adorn southern Ohio’s hill country like jewels on a verdant green necklace.

As a nonprofit organization, the Arc has sheltered nearly 4,300 acres over the last 22 years in 16 preserve regions across southwest and south-central Ohio.

These 16 sites encompass important natural and historic areas between Highland County on the west and Perry County on the east. Their woodlands, caves, streams and prairies are home to some of the state’s most unique flora, fauna and features.

Executive Director Nancy Stranahan is the Arc’s moving spirit. The Cleveland native first fell in love with rolling and wooded southwest Ohio at age 18 when she came to the area to work as a naturalist with Ohio State Parks.

By 1995, Stranahan had set her sights on preserving at least a piece of the region for posterity.

“I wanted to leave a legacy of a natural area,” she said. “But I couldn’t find anything appropriate.”

A Sunday drive down Cave Road to Fort Hill changed all that…” To continue reading Jane Beathard’s article click here.

Smokin’ in the Hills Planning Continues

Preparations continue for Smokin’ in the Hills, a Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned competition set for Sept. 23 at Rocky Fork Lake.

Highland County Board of Commissioners President Shane Wilkin said in a Wednesday commissioners meeting that several teams have already signed up to compete in the cookoff, which will include selections of chicken, ribs, pulled pork and brisket.

Prizes will be awarded to the grand champion, reserve champion and first through fifth place for each category, according to Rhonda Purdin of the Highland County Senior Citizens Center. Purdin was the first person to come up with the idea for the barbecue competition, Wilkin said.

According to Wilkin, a “boatload” of judges have also signed up.

Wilkin also said planners are currently working with recycling outreach coordinator Heidi Devine to make Smokin’ in the Hills a “zero-waste” event… To read more of David Wright’s article click here.

‘Major Sponsor’ for Barbecue Festival

Highland County Board of Commissioners President Shane Wilkin, left, and commissioner Terry Britton are shown in session during Wednesday’s commissioners meeting.

Highland County Board of Commissioners President Shane Wilkin announced Wednesday that an upcoming barbecue contest and festival set for September at Rocky Fork Lake has a new “major headline sponsor.”

Wilkin had mentioned the sponsorship at a recent Ohio Department of Natural Resources ceremony at Rocky Fork Lake.

Wilkin said more information on the sponsor will be forthcoming, adding that the name of the event has been changed from “Smoke on the Water” to “Smoke in the Hills” due to copyright issues. Read more here.