"Natural Treasures" Uncovered—My Top Five Ohio Nature Stops

22 May 2012
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Rick Conner

Today, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) kicks off its Natural Treasures of Ohio Challenge. As a member of The Nature Conservancy for over 20 years, and a board member for the Ohio Chapter for the past two years, when asked to design the “Natural Treasures Campaign,” it was a no brainer. I was eager and honored.

When I joined the LPK team back in the 90s, I learned of Mort Libby’s personal involvement in TNC and his passion for the great outdoors, which I shared. Over the years, LPK has embraced a very rich commitment to our environment, both locally and nationally. I was fortunate to work alongside him and discuss the topics that were fueling our passion. I was eventually asked to replace him on the local TNC board when he retired.

As a designer, you may not always have the opportunity to work on a brand that entwines your passions, convictions and values. For two decades, I have been privileged to work for a cause that empowers me daily. It’s pretty cool to see the campaign come to life today.

Since the campaign has the goal of encouraging people to visit Ohio’s parks and landmarks, I’m sharing my top five “treasures” across Ohio. Check them out—and let me know what you think:

1) Buzzardroost Rock (Adams County). Only an hour from Cincinnati, you’ll find the most breathtaking view in Ohio. Follow it up with a stop at either Miller’s or Keim Family Market for great baked goods.

2) Cincinnati Nature Center (Clermont County). With over 1,000 acres and 16 miles of trails, it’s our trusty favorite when we need to get out, but stay close. We have been members for almost 20 years—and have enjoyed lots of family memories.

3) Hocking Hills (Hocking County). Cantwell Cliffs has dramatic vistas and is great for meandering around. If you don’t like crowds, this is the place to be. There are lots of options for lodging from camping areas to cabins. If you’re into antiques, save some time to do a little shopping.

4) Glen Helen Nature Preserve (Yellow Springs). This beautiful hiking area is located right next to the eclectic college town of Yellow Springs. After you’re done hiking, head over to Ha Ha Pizza or take a stroll through the shops in the afternoon. And, of course, you can’t go to Yellow Springs without indulging in a few scoops from the area’s infamous Young’s Jersey Dairy.

5) Clifton Gorge (Green County). Carved out by the Little Miami River, the dramatic scenery makes you think you are in the Pacific Northwest. We often bring our out-of-town guests here and then dine at the historic Clifton Mill restaurant, home of one of the largest water-powered grist mills in existence.

If you want to find your own treasure and maybe even win a Honda Insight Hybrid (yes, I forgot to mention, they are giving away a car), visit The Nature Conservancy for more information. For more info on hiking in Ohio, I love HikingOhioParks.com.