July 16: Jack McDowell Prairie Appreciation bike ride

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The oak savanna was once one of the most common vegetation types in the Midwest, but today it is highly endangered. Most remaining oak savannas are quite small, less than 100 acres. The Prairie Grass Trail in Madison County provides a narrow slice of Ohio heritage that allows bikers, botanists, and beautiful-plant enthusiasts to step back in time and reconnect with this important part of our historical roots.

(Posted July 7, 2022)

Experience wildflowers in peak bloom at the historical prairies along the Prairie Grass Trail.

Jack McDowell’s Annual Prairie Appreciation Ride starts at 8 a.m. July 16 at the Prairie Grass Trailhead, 262 W. High St., London, and extends southwest approximately six miles to the Madison-Clark county border. After the official ride ends, head on to South Charleston or return to London at your leisure. No fee required.

The Madison Soil & Water Conservation District is leading the bicycle ride. Pit stops are planned along the trail to discuss local flora and fauna, history, and conservation practices.  The pace will be slow and appropriate for almost all ages.

The prairies have existed since before the time of the pioneers and were preserved by the railroad because the land could not be farmed. Now, the prairies are maintained by volunteers who share McDowell’s vision of saving this heritage and providing educational opportunities through stewardship.

McDowell was one of the early “discoverers” of the remnant prairies of Madison and Clark counties and started efforts to manage these prairie treasures in the midst of threats from invasive woody plant and agricultural weed species. McDowell passed away in 2012, but his dream to inspire others to preserve the Ohio prairie is not forgotten.

For more information, contact Broc Sehen at broc.sehen@oh.nacdnet.net or (740) 852-4003.

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