EATON — The Preble County Board of Commissioners issued support for a grant application from the Preble County Park District (PCPD) for improvements at Devil’s Backbone during their meeting on Wednesday, April 14.
According to Park Commissioner Tom McQuiston, the Devil’s Backbone is a 26 acre property located outside of Camden on old S.R. 725. Five years ago, the land was donated to the PCPD by Patricia and Herb Wagers.
“Since that time, we’ve been working to develop a plan, develop resources to do a lot of work down there,” he said. “[Park Manager Mindy Davidson] has put together a grant application for a lot of things that we can do.”
The grant, which is through the Clean Ohio Fund’s Green Space Conservation Program, helps to fund preservation of open space, sensitive ecological areas and stream corridors, according to Davidson’s presentation.
Devil’s Backbone meets a number of qualifications including the preservation of high quality wetlands, preserving streams, securing easements to protect stream corridors and supporting comprehensive open space planning.
According to Davidson, improvements to the area would include additional parking, a pavilion and restrooms, security gates, wildlife friendly fencing, sewer capabilities, picnic tables and other general upgrades.
An agreement is being drafted up between the PCPD and the Camden Police Department to assist with security and opening the gates.
Another draw is the enhancement of eco-tourism from locals schools and colleges, Davidson said.
“Miami University comes down there quite a bit in their archaeology department, finds arrowheads things like that. We have lots of fossils,” Davidson said. “I spoke to a majority of the school principals in the area, and they’re really excited about another nature opportunity where they can have field field trips and learn about nature.”
According to Davidson’s presentation, the grant request would total $240,700. Alongside $35,258 of in-kind donations, $27,620 from the Ohio Department of Transportation and $33,500 from the PCPD, the improvements would total an estimated $337,078.
The board then noted receipt of and signed a letter in support of the PCPD’s grant application.
The Preble County Board of Commissioners meet every Monday and Friday at 9 a.m. in the Preble County Courthouse. These meetings are open to the public.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles