We have many cultural treasures here in Adams County, but in my mind, Serpent Mound is at the top of the list. I’ve enjoyed going out there since I became a resident 30 years ago, sometimes by bicycle, riding through our challenging hills and beautiful winding roads. I just recently became a Board Member of the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System, who manages Serpent Mound (since 2009) and Fort Hill on behalf of the Ohio History Connection.
I was curious to get a behind-the-scenes look of how well Serpent Mound was being managed when I joined the Board. From that perspective, I can tell we are being well-served. Park attendance is way-up, improvements are being made and the grounds are looking good (the recent act of vandalism being tended-to). Solid programs for kids and adults are happening regularly. Archaeology Day, with fascinating displays, presentations and activities, is happening this Saturday, Sept. 12.
My two children graduated from Peebles High School and I strongly believe in community support for childhood education. Under the Arc’s stewardship, the park’s school children program has been revitalized with record attendance being reported in field trips and children participation. Children have interactive experiences, like holding a real snake or throwing an atlatl as they search to connect with the people that created Serpent Mound. Enhancing the education offered to visitors at the park’s museum is a brand new orientation film, donated by an internationally-recognized filmmaker.
As a business person I also know the importance of capital improvements and have been pleased to find so much renovation, which demonstrates Ohio History Connection’s financial investment in the future. We have a new visitor information kiosk (installed in conjunction with the Adams County Travel and Visitors Bureau) and drinking fountain by the parking lot, the old pit latrines replaced with modern running toilets, a brand-new entrance sign, and a freshly-painted observation tower. Park grounds are meticulously cared for by a dedicated groundskeeper hired from our local community, and smiling hosts at the front desk, also drawn from our county, greet visitors from far and near.
Serpent Mound may be 1,000 years old, perhaps even older, but I am here to report it is still alive and well.
By the way, the Arc has 14 nature preserves of their own in south central Ohio. My favorite is out on Bacon Flat Road, an enjoyable five mile bicycle ride from my place in Peebles. It is called Chalet Nivale and the trails there are being prepared for a public opening in the spring.