The Arc of Appalachia has completed the acquisition of the Kamama Prairie Gateway, a six-acre parcel in Adams County, Ohio, that provides the first road access and public entrance to the previously land-locked Kamama Prairie Preserve, bringing the total of protected acres to 192. The purchase was made possible through grant funding via the Clean Ohio program and the generous support of many Arc of Appalachia benefactors, including the Conservation Alliance.
The summer of 2022 witnessed the completion of the visitor parking lot, allowing public access to this rich natural landscape. Kamama Prairie Preserve currently has a .6-mile trail completed with extended trails under development. Future additions to the preserve include an interpretive kiosk near the parking area. Like other Arc of Appalachia trails, these areas are open daily from daylight to dusk for groups of all sizes without the need for permits or fees. Arc of Appalachia plans to continue engaging the local community through volunteer opportunities, including a long-term stewardship program for the property that will draw volunteers from the local community and beyond.
Kamama Prairie’s rich biological diversity makes it an ideal site for a variety of educational programs.The Arc of Appalachia already welcomes participants in their tree identification and butterfly workshops, as well as an area 4H Club’s, “Explore the Outdoors” program. In addition, volunteers are working with Adams County Children Services at its youth facility, Wilson’s Children Home, to provide transportation to Kamama for field trips.
This is a great win for the delicate and unique ecosystem known as the “Eastern U.S. Alkaline Short-grass Prairie,” which is home to wildlife, birds, and rare and endangered plant species that will thrive in the newly protected area. With 24 state-listed rare and endangered plants, 544 total plant species, and 68 notable plant species (previously state-listed or on the watch list), as well as large numbers of biologically-significant species of birds (including breeding grounds for the Chuck-Will’s-Widow), insects (including a moth new to science), and reptiles (such as the Black Kingsnake and Eastern Hognose), this is truly a noteworthy achievement. Beyond the ecological significance, local residents will now benefit from access to this precious natural environment, which will now become a shared community resource.