Protected Properties of Owl Creek Conservancy

Owl Creek Conservancy holds 40 conservancy easements and eight agricultural easements in Knox county (45), Morrow (1), Richland (1), and Muskingham (1) counties, covering 5,610 acres. By conserving their land via easement, these landowners have ensured the preservation of valuable natural landscapes, safeguarding biodiversity, promoting sustainable land management practices, and providing lasting benefits for both present and future generations.
Field & silos
Leaves
Water
Wording and Sky

Ashcraft

Acquired in 2023. The Ashcraft Family protected 323 acres of prime farm ground near Fredericktown in four simultaneous conservation easements, a record for the Conservancy. The Protected Properties are all dedicated to grain farming, and one easement protects over 1,000 feet of the North Branch of the Kokosing River.
Sign
Deed
Barn
Wording and Cows

Bechtel

Acquired in 2023. Curtis Bechtel’s farm has been in his family for 200 years, and he has the sheepskin deed signed by President James Monroe to prove it! By placing an agricultural easement on his 132-acre beef farm, he has ensured that the property will remain in agricultural production for generations to come.
Road
Flowers
Rocks
Wording and Closing

Watson

Acquired in 2023. The Watsons generously donated a conservation easement on 15 acres of wooded property partially within the city limits of Mount Vernon. The leafy views provided by the Protected Property will be enjoyed in perpetuity by passing motorists as well as by hikers and bikers on the Kokosing Gap Trail.
River
Bridge
Image 3
Wording and barn

Howard Milton Galbraith

Acquired in 2022. Dan Galbraith chose to name this easement, his seventh with the Conservancy, after his father, Howard Milton Galbraith, to permanently tie his memory with the worthy efforts of land protection. This easement in Wayne Township protects 135 acres of prime and locally important farm ground and 2,600 feet of Granny Creek, a major tributary to the Kokosing State Scenic River.
House
Thistle
Wording and Field

Williams

Acquired in 2022. The Williams agricultural easement was purchased through the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program and covers 182.5 acres in Milford Township on the south-west side of the county. The topography of the farm is gently rolling with 131 acres dedicated to croplands in a corn/soybean rotation. There are 35 acres of pastured cattle and a small woodlot. The farm is composed entirely of prime soils. The Williams Farm is the ninth property in Milford Township to be preserved by the Owl Creek Conservancy.
Flowers
Water
Aerial
Words and Field

Buxton

Acquired in 2020. In 2017, Doug Givens and Ray Heithaus filed an application with the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Local Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP) to fund partial purchase of an agricultural easement for a 143-acre farm owned by Barry Buxton. The property includes 121 acres of cropland, 17 acres of woodland and encloses about 2,690 feet of Armstrong Run flowing through a substantial riparian forest, draining into part of the greater aquifer recharge area for the water supply for the City of Mount Vernon.
Stream
House in snow
Words and Field

B&C Montgomery

Acquired in 2020. In 2017, Doug Givens and Ray Heithaus filed an application with the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Local Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP) to fund partial purchase of 125 acres of NRCS-designated prime or locally important tillable land, owned by Brian and Cindy Montgomery. The easement is near or abutting the six Protected Properties owned by Richard and Nancy Montgomery and one owned by Jeff Montgomery, bringing the total acreage conserved by the Montgomery family to 1,002 acres.
Snowy field
Stream
Map
Words and Water

Lanker III

Acquired in 2020. The Conservancy's largest easement, covering 526 acres, is owned by Bruce and Kathy Lanker, bringing their total conserved land to 1,140 acres. The four parcels include 460 acres of NRCS-designated prime or locally important tillable farmland, a Woodland Area, 1,030 feet of Granny Creek, a Riparian Area and NRCS-designated Wetlands. The southeastern 336 acres lay within the five-year time-of-travel zone within the greater aquifer recharge area for the municipal water system of the City of Mount Vernon.
Barn
Water
Vinca
Words and Horse

Brill

Acquired in 2019. Marion R. Brill donated an easement in memory of her mother, Patty Markee Brill, to protect her 34-acre property in Morgan Township. The Conservation Easement was crafted to be compatible with Marion's desire to continue agriculture while providing habitat for amphibians, other wild animals, native trees and wildflowers.
Flowers
Fall trees
Barn
Wording and people

Montgomery IV, V, VI

Acquired in 2018. In 2016, Doug Givens and Ray Heithaus filed three applications under the Local Area Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP) of the Ohio Department of Agriculture to partially fund purchase of agricultural easements otherwise donated by Richard and Nancy Montgomery for the three farms. The three farms total 223 acres, and with the three previous farms they conserved, they have protected 697 acres of farm ground.
Stream
Words and sign

Lanker II-2

Acquired in 2017. Jeff and Patricia Wells purchased the 40-acre woodland in Bruce Lanker's 313-acre protected property. The existing permanent land-protecting CE (Conservation Easement) continued unchanged when ownership changed. Separation of such a split as allowed in the CE was a first for the Conservancy, although the CEs for some other large protected properties also allow such splits.
Sunset
Words and Field and sky

B&M Lanker

Acquired in 2017. Brad and Melinda Lanker conserved their 101-acre property occupying the northern and southern corners of the intersection of Bryant Road and Sparta Road in Wayne Township. The National Resources Conservation Service of the USDA classifies all soils there as "prime or prime if drained." Importantly, Brad and Melinda extinguished nine approved, platted residential lots when they conserved their property, thus assuring that their productive farmland cannot succumb to a final crop of houses.
Aerial
Field
Violets
Wording and water

Lanker II-1

Acquired in 2017. Bruce Lanker's 313-acre property in the southwestern corner of Morris Township was the largest single block conserved at the time under one CE. It includes a 40-acre woodland, a seven-acre riparian area enclosing 1,226 feet of Granny Creek, a major tributary to the Kokosing State Scenic River, and 266 acres of productive soils, 96% of which are classed as "prime or locally important" by the National Resources Conservation Service of the USDA.
Green trees
Woods
flowers
Words And Iris

Kohr II

Acquired in 2017. Longtime member of the Conservancy with an abiding interest in wetlands, Janet Kohr purchased the conserved 63-acre pristine wetland in Wayne Township. The property has a 56-acre riparian area, enclosing more than 2,100 feet of the West Branch of the Kokosing State Scenic River.
Dragonfly
Flowers
Yellow trees
Words and Field

McFarland

Acquired in 2017. Our first conserved property in Morrow County, the McFarland property has been owned by the same family since about 1850. The 125-acre farm abuts and drains into the Clear Fork Reservoir, a major source of the municipal water supply for Mansfield. The farm includes 50 acres of woodland with two streams and 69 acres of tilled fields and a six-acre Building Area. Mr. McFarland donated the CE in memory of Georgia Z. and Robert O. McFarland.
Stream
Sun
Fall
Stump
Wording and Person

Wilson

Acquired in 2016. Jay Wilson's 7.6-acre residential property includes seven acres of pristine woodland where the last timbering occurred nearly a century ago. Mr. Wilson's residential property is the first we covered with an easement, but the woodland made the convincing case for conservation.
Lines
Log
Water
Words and Cows

Healea I & II

Acquired in 2013. Irene Price Healea donated two easements in Morris and Monroe Townships, totaling 309 acres, in part to entwine forever the memory of her husband, J. Warren Healea, in the land they loved and knew as Warwick Farms.
Trees
Moss
Wording and water

Blackjack Wetland Preserve

Acquired in 2016. The City of Mount Vernon's 53-acre Blackjack Wetland Preserve is the site of a spectacular assemblage of plants adapted to hydric soils and acres of high quality wetlands. The Clean Ohio Conservation Fund purchased the now Protected Property.
Flowers
Field
Bridge
Words and corn

Horn

Acquired in 2015. John and Donna Horn's 388-acre farm in Harrison and Howard Townships includes land worked by John's family since the early 1920's. Strip farming controls erosion on the rolling terrain. The agricultural easement covering the Protected Property was funded by the generous donation of the landowners and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Thank you
Green trees
Green field
Wording and sign

Lanker I

Acquired in 2014. Bruce and Kathy Lanker's 278-acre property in Wayne Township encloses more than a mile of the Kokosing State Scenic River and 3,750 feet of its tributary, Mile Creek and includes 200 acres of prime farmland. They amended the land-protecting conservation easement in 2018 to add 14 abutting acres on the west.
Map
Creek
Flowers
Wording and green

Galbraith II, III, IV, V, VI

Acquired in 2013. Daniel W. Galbraith donated an easement on a 205-acre farm in Berlin Township in memory of his mother, Mary Lucille Cooper Galbraith. Dan also partially donated four other easements covering another 205 acres, all of which lie within the aquifer recharge area feeding the municipal water supply for Mount Vernon.
Corn rows
Field
Trees
Words and grass

Kohr I

Acquired in 2013. Janet Kohr's property includes nearly 170 acres of many of the most important aspects of the Knox County landscape: agricultural buildings, fields, woods, ponds and streams. The Nunda Road property has a rolling topography, with a mosaic of major landscape elements. Her fields are sustainably managed to produce hay, an agricultural habitat that can also be used by a variety of wildlife. Ms. Kohr entered into a conservation easement to entwine the memory of her husband, Robert Duncan McKenzie, permanently in the farm they knew and loved as Homewood Farm.
Stream
Flower field
Pink
Trail
Words and Bark

Rine

Acquired in 2011. Harold Rine donated the conservation easement on his 48-acre property on Upper Fredericktown Road to keep his land as it has been for the better part of two centuries.
Barn

Jeff Montgomery

Acquired in 2011. Jeff Montgomery also donated an easement on his 180-acre farm. Along with his parents' (Richard and Nancy Montgomery) three adjacent easements, Jeff's farm rounded out more than a square mile of protected prime soils in Milford Township. At an initial meeting, Jeff said, "We don't need to talk. I want what Mom and Dad have to protect my farm."
Field

Montgomery II & III

Acquired in 2011. In December of 2010, Richard and Nancy Montgomery telephoned and said, "We think we want to do another easement." In a meeting the following day, Nancy said, "We don't need to talk; we know what you can do for us - keep our land in farming." Conservation easements were then developed for their 90- and 138-acre farms.
River
Water
Words and trees

Galbraith I

Acquired in 2011. We are immensely grateful to Mr. Galbraith for collaborating with the Conservancy in his visionary effort to conserve 1.3 miles of the most significant natural feature in Knox County, the Kokosing State Scenic River. Mr. Galbraith's 274-acre easement includes 186 acres of 100-year floodplain and 174 acres of tillable prime soils. Additionally, the acreage is almost entirely in the five-year time-of-travel zone within the aquifer recharge area for Mount Vernon's water system.
Sycamore
Road
Corn
Words and truck

Montgomery I

Acquired in 2010. Nancy and Richard Montgomery have operated their 243.5-acre farm as a productive dairy or row-crop farm since 1967. They gifted a conservation easement on their farm on Simmons Church Road in Milford Township to the Conservancy to be sure their property remained forever a farm so that future generations might have the opportunities and gratifications they have enjoyed from working the land.
Sign
Tree
Fall tree
Words and water

Magers

Acquired in 2007. Dalton and Norma Magers generously donated a conservation easement on their 98-acre farm, whose rolling fields were planted in warm season grasses under the federal Conservation Reserve Program. The farm lies east and west of Weaver Road in Miller Township, and includes a small wetland, supporting several awesome swamp oaks, one of which, at the time, was the second largest in the county at 17 1/2 feet in circumference and 5 1/2 feet in diameter. Dustin and Tara Durbin purchased the Protected Property in 2017.
Field
Cliffs
Sign
Words and field

Cassell II

Acquired in 2007. The conservation easement was a partial purchase through grants from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, and a partial donation by Alan and Traci Cassell. The land is part of their 129-acre farm on Liberty Chapel Road, in Wayne Township. Granny Creek, a major tributary to the Kokosing State Scenic River, runs for 2,400 feet through the property, along spectacular 60-foot cliffs. The 59-acre easement covers a riparian area, an agricultural field and a wet woodland containing an unusually large vernal pool.
Trees
Path to bridge
Bridge rocks
Words and grass

Philander Chase

Acquired in 2006. A 22-acre farm field bordering the Kokosing State Scenic River, on Big Run Road in College Township, donated in part by the Philander Chase Conservancy in Gambier, and partially purchased with money from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund.
Stones
River
Track
Words and field

Cassell I

Acquired in 2006. A 32-acre farm field bordering or enclosing the Kokosing State Scenic River on Green Valley Road in Morris Township, partially purchased with money from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund and donated in part by Alan and Traci Cassell of Cassell's Crossing, where Cassells have lived since 1835.
Curvy River
Barn
Fence
Words and sheep

Delong

Acquired in 2006. Bernice Delong protected her 130-acre sheep and cattle farm on Frazeysburg Road in Muskingum County with a donated conservation easement. When Ms. Delong died in 2007, the Protected Property passed to the Muskingum Valley Park District for development as an environmental educational facility.
Cows
Stream
Looking up
Words and grass

Schwartz

Acquired in 2006. Ninety-two acres of working forests and open fields on Mengert Road in Monroe Township in southeastern Richland County near Malabar Farm were donated by David and Harriet Schwartz of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
Trail
Stream
Field
Words and pond

Jerry Simpson

Acquired in 2005. Thirty-two acres of farm fields, grassland, stream and pond on Hopewell Road in Harrison Township in Knox County were donated by Jerry Simpson in Gambier.
Flower trail
Person
Woods
Words and pond

R.E. Simpson

Acquired in 2004. Sixty acres on Grove Church Road were placed under a permanent land protection agreement thanks to the generosity of Robert E. Simpson. The acreage includes a small woodland and a wetland.
Flowers
Tree
Words and river

Buchwald II

Acquired in 2003. Jim and Maureen Buchwald graciously donated the Conservancy's second easement of approximately five acres. The protected land lies along the Kokosing River, north of the first easement they donated. The protected land, a riparian forest, lies along the Kokosing River, abutting the Kokosing Gap Trail on the south for approximately 1,480 feet north of the first easement the Buchwalds donated.
Trail
Stones

Buchwald I

Acquired in 2001. Thanks to the kind generosity and thoughtful leadership of Jim and Maureen Buchwald, the Owl Creek Conservancy was the grateful recipient of its first conservation easement on 28 acres in December of 2001. The wooded, north-sloping acreage abuts the Kokosing Gap Trail on the north for more than 1,400 feet.
Lily
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