Projects - Completed and Ongoing
The John Glenn Observatory and Astronomy Park
The Astronomy Park fund has now reached nearly $104,000.00. Of that amount, $65,000.00 came into the fund in August of 2016. We continue to actively work towards the goal of bringing this one-of-a-kind facility to the Hocking Hills, by the end of 2017. To reach that goal will take $1.4 million. Your help is needed to reach those goals. Please click here (a new window/tab will open) and be taken to the John Glenn Astronomy Fund page on the Foundation For Appalachian Ohio website to find out how you can help us reach our goal of $1.4 million to complete the building of the John Glenn Observatory and Astronomy Park by the end of 2017. The Park is to be built near the Hocking Hills Dining Lodge and Cabins area.
Click here to view an animated video (on You Tube) for more information about the project.
On October 21, 2016 The Columbus Dispatch published a story on their website, "Hocking Hills observatory planned to counter light pollution." The story updates the amount of money raised to $300,000.00.
Hocking Hills Naturalist Program
The Hocking Hills Tourism Association’s Indian Run event donated $1,000 to the Friends to help build new cages for the naturalist’s resident raptors, an owl and hawk that are familiar to thousands of families who attend HHSP programs. The Friends were involved in all aspects of planning, funding, and constructing the new Raptor Cages.
Naturalist Programs and Live Animal Care
The Friends have established a Live Animal Care Fund to feed the naturalist’s four raptors, snakes, turtles, and lizards, and to purchase bird seed for Expedition Trail. Yearly, the Friends contribute to programming supplies for naturalist programs, along with special events such as the Park’s annual Halloween Campout.
Hocking Hills Safety and Life Support
Automated External Defibrillators
The Friends purchased three AEDs, which are lightweight, portable devices used to restore normal heart rhythm to persons in cardiac arrest. Each analyses the rhythm of the heart and informs the user if and when a shock is needed. Park Staff expects that this equipment will save the lives of Park visitors this year and into the future.
Safety and Rope Rescue Equipment
The Friends yearly have funded ATV repairs, rope rescue equipment, and supplies for Park rescues and trail repairs. The Hocking Hills State Park hosts the Hocking Hills Rope Rescue Team. The team is comprised of 17 total members. Eleven are from the State Park, one from the State Forest, one from the State Nature Preserve, two from the Hocking County EMS and two from the 911 office. The team is dispatched for cliff related emergencies such as vertical rope rescue, First Responder/First Aid and extrication of victims from the secluded areas to awaiting emergency squads or MedFlight. Often times, when a visitor strays from the trail or illegally climbs on the cliffs or geological features of the park, they will get stuck out on a cliff ledge. They may be injured or just unable to climb down safely. In these cases the rope rescue team will be called on to perform a “pick off” operation. That is where one team member is lowered down to the victim, places a safety harness onto the victim and then the victim is either raised up or lowered down to safety. The Friends have been able to fund new harnesses, ropes, pulleys, stokes baskets, and other rescue gear for the Park in order to keep their team members, visitors and victims safe.
Recreation at Hocking Hills State Park
Wildlife Photo and Viewing Blinds
The first of several Wildlife Photo and Viewing Blinds has been completed at Rose Lake. The gazebo-like structures will allow photographers and nature enthusiasts to observe wildlife from a quiet, hidden location. Funds for this project were raised by the Friends annual “Shoot the Hills” Nature Photography Contest. Friends members were involved in every stage of the construction, from design and planning, to the actual construction. Several more Blinds are planned throughout the Park.
The Expedition Trail
Again, working in conjunction with the Hocking Hills Tourism Association, the Friends helped with funding for habitat improvement and the construction of a new ADA interpretive nature trail located behind the Rangers’ Office by Old Man’s Cave. This new handicap accessible interpretive trail is now open, and allows visitors of all ages to enjoy outdoor activities in a controlled setting. Once an infamous go-cart track, the area has been transformed into several different stations for all to enjoy. Visitors can learn about animal tracks, critters of the woods, wildflowers and trees, vernal pools, recycling, the many variety of songbirds at the feeding stations, or visit the live raptors housed there.
A new archery range has been has been completed across State Route 664 from the Park Office, spanning 80 acres. In addition to a standard archery range, a woods walk shooting range with animal and static targets is a unique chance for visitors who own archery equipment to have a hands-on native woodland experience. In addition to the 20+ 3D targets which are permanently located along a 1/4 mile hollow at the Archery Range, five stationary square targets will be placed in five separate lanes ranging from 10 to 50 yards. Thanks to a $2500.00 donation from the FOHHSP, five Bow Hanging Stations will be constructed on the adjoining static range portion of the project. Archers will be able to engage each target, then when all clear, be able to safely walk the lane to retrieve their arrows. The Range was completed thanks to many volunteer groups and $20,000 in donations, including $3,000 from Friends and the Hocking Hills Tourism Association for the sign.
State Route 664 South Relocation
In 2012, through a public/private partnership between FHHSP, ODNR and ODOT an 8 tenths of a mile section of State Route 664 South was relacted from between the Old Man's Cave parking lot and gorge to where it exists today. This reloaction removed a conflict between motor vehicles and pedestrians crossing the highway from the parking lot to the gorge. In addition to the safety issue, other benefits realized by the highway relocation are the reduction of vehicular air pollution, noise, and vibration to the fragile gorge environment, and additional space for public recreational/educational facilities serving the park’s rapidly growing popularity and visitation.