Fort Hill a county highlight


By Jackie Wolgamott - For The Times-Gazette



Tourism is an idea linked to the idea of people traveling to other locattions, either domestically or internationally for leisure, social or business purposes.

Tourism offers economic benefits. People traveling to Highland County will spend money in the county for things like a place to stay, dining, varius items they need or sourvenirs. Tourism also provides employment opportunities to some who live in the county.

Places of interest in Highland County include Fort Hill, Rocky Fork State Park and Paint Creek State Park, historical museums, Highlands Nature Sanctuary, nearby Serpent Mound, Amish and Mennonote markets, the eight-sided school house in Sinking Spring and much more.

Fort Hill lies on the western edge of the Allegheny Plateau. It is a 1,600-acre area that provides many opportunities. Fort Hill is managed by the Arc of Appalachia on behalf of the Ohio History Connection, a statewide organization with the mission to spark discovery in Ohio stories. It has 50-plus sites that are connected to 200 reciprocal sites and museums in Ohio.

For archeology enthusiasts, there are two ancient earthworks at Fort Hill. The first is Fort Hill earthworks, which is an earthen wall enclosure constructed on a flat top ridge. The circumference is 1.5 miles, it has 36 manmade openings, the wall ranges from six to 15 feet in height, and it is 30 feet wide at the base. The wall os 8.619 fee long and encloses 35.3 acres.

The second is Circle Earthwork. It is in a field on the south side of the park. There is a manicured trail from the Buckeye Trail to this earthwork. There are 11 miles of hiking trails. Due to the trails being primitive, narrow and uneven with rolling hills and steep inclines, they are preferred by hiking enthusiasts.

Fort Hill shelters one of the larest and oldest contigous forests in Ohio. The park preserves over 800 vascular plants including hornwart, cattail, pondweed, pondlily and duckweed. During the spring, there is a spectacular floral display of large flowered trillium, columbine, celandine poppy and sweet william. Many wildflowers are on the endangered or rare species list. There are also hundreds of mushroom species and hard to find bird species withing the forest.

Fort Hill has a museum with hands-on and interactive multimedia displays.

The picnic area offers a shelter, which can be reserved. It is shaded by small trees and a meandering stream. The shelter was built in the 1930s by the Civil Conservation Corps out of native rock and wormy chestnut. Grills are also available.

In 2015, Fort Hill was inducted as part of The Old Growth Forest Network. The network is the only national network in the United States of protected, old growth and native forests, where people of all generations can experience biodiversity and the beauty of nature.

Sources for this story included: oldgrowthforestnetwork.net, stateparks.org, ohiohistory.org, revfine.com and arcof appalachia.org.

Jackie Wolgamott is a stringer for The Times-Gazette.

https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2022/01/web1_fort-hill-buckeye-trail.jpgCourtesy photo

By Jackie Wolgamott

For The Times-Gazette