CHESTER TOWNSHIP — A new nature preserve in Clinton County is approved for funding through an $868,407 state grant.

The site covers 94 acres that are adjacent to Caesar Creek State Park.

Cardinal Land Conservancy Inc., an accredited land trust, applied for a 2021 Clean Ohio Conservation Fund grant, with the dollars to go toward purchasing the property plus paying for some biological restoration.

The site features an old-growth woods and has a creek in the back that’s a tributary to Caesar Creek Lake.

Cardinal Land Conservancy Executive Director Andy Dickerson said this week the not-for-profit land preservation organization plans to build in a two-mile hiking trail.

“We are tickled pink [to be awarded the grant],” said Dickerson.

The nature preserve will not immediately open, as the land sale is not officially closed and there is surveying and paperwork to do. Dickerson anticipates it will probably open this fall after harvest.

Part of the property is presently in soybeans, he said, which is beneficial because it is easy to go straight from beans to restoration.

About 40 acres of the site can be restored to a pollinators habitat utilizing native grasses and native wildflowers, Dickerson had said in January when he met with Clinton County commissioners. He had come to the courthouse asking for their official support for the grant application.

It will be a great spot to go birding, he has said, noting there are bald eagles at the state park. In addition, there are a lot of neo-tropical migratory birds and different warblers looking for stopover sites.

The federally endangered Indiana Bats are all around Caesar Creek Lake, as well.

For now, the site will be named the Caesar Creek Nature Preserve. An “Opening Day” is expected to be scheduled and announced. The nature preserve will be open to the public during daylight hours.

Dickerson is hoping a Scout troop will want to become involved in a new nature preserve.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

A natural area in Clinton County adjacent to Caesar Creek State Park will become a nature preserve. natural area in Clinton County adjacent to Caesar Creek State Park will become a nature preserve. Submitted photo

By Gary Huffenberger

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