Glen Helen secures nearly $1M for improvement projects

ajc.com

New state funding will allow Glen Helen to make rail and bridge improvements as part other enhancements at the nature preserve, park officials said.

The nature preserve in Yellow Springs has been granted $988,119 from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund thanks to a collaboration with the Tecumseh Land Trust.

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“The grant is a crucial piece in our funding picture,” according to Glen Helen Association board president Scott Geisel. “Together with the generous support of over a thousand donors, this will help us move forward with a suite of urgent and important projects.”

Tecumseh Land Trust submitted the grant proposal on behalf of the GHA in Oct. 2021. The proposal was the top-scoring among the candidates and received a unanimous funding recommendation from the local Clean Ohio Natural Resources Assistance Council.

“So much of our work is done on private lands that aren’t open to the public which is why (Tecumseh Land Trust) is proud to partner, once again, with Glen Helen to enhance the community’s access to and enjoyment of this irreplaceable natural treasure,” said TLT executive director, Michele Burns.

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Grant money will support six “priority site improvement projects” defined by the Glen Helen Association:

--- Improvements to existing bridges and boardwalks, and a series of new bridges and boardwalks, aimed at facilitating public access to the property’s 15-mile trail system, while also minimizing the soil compaction and erosion potential of visitors.

--- Improvements to parking areas on the property, including creation of a new parking area to improve access and accessibility to the trail system, including gates, lighting and trash/recycling container.

--- Wayfinding and protective signage at trail intersections and trailheads.

--- Installation of perimeter fencing behind downtown businesses to better direct the public onto the trail system and discourage unauthorized activity.

--- Demolition of the derelict Antioch College power plant, a public and ecological hazard located on the site, with additional financial support provided by the Village of Yellow Springs.

--- Demolition of the Jacoby Road Gatehouse, a derelict house located just above slope wetlands above the Little Miami River.

In the fall of 2020, the Glen Helen Association purchased the region’s largest private nature preserve from Antioch College, which had closed it for much of the COVID-19 pandemic. The association reopened it to the public and started its campaign drive to restart programs and improve access.

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