The Tucker Run Preserve, 49.5 acres, protects the headwaters of Tucker Run, one of the main tributaries of Dow Lake. At this point, the Conservancy still owes about $32,000 to repay the remainder of two private loans that paid off a bank mortgage on the property. Donations towards paying this off are still needed!
The preserve is home to two wildflower species there that are uncommon in Athens County: the long-spurred violet (Viola rostrata) and the sweet white violet (Viola blanda). There are no maintained trails. Deer hunting is allowed. The property is generally triangular, with one long side bordering Strouds Run State Park.
Although the preserve is open to the public, access is currently difficult. There is an unmarked access trail (see map below) that enters the preserve from the north through private property. The Conservancy has legal access through that property and also holds a conservation easement on it (you may see our boundary signs). Visitors are welcome to enter this way, but there is room for only one car to park at the trailhead. Alternatively, adventuresome hikers who are comfortable bushwhacking (a compass is recommended!) can reach the preserve from Strouds Run State Park. Park at the Beaver Pond Trailhead (see map below), hike the trail to the beaver ponds, then below the beaver dams go straight across the valley to your left, climb over the ridge into the next valley, and you will be in the preserve. Be aware that it is bordered by private property on the north, south and west sides.
To reach the Beaver Pond Trailhead from uptown Athens, take Carpenter Street west (turn left from Court Street or East State Street). Carpenter becomes Lancaster Street. Take this to the stoplight at the top of the hill and turn right on Lancaster Street, which becomes Columbia Avenue and then Strouds Run Road. After crossing US-33 on an overpass, turn right at the stop sign (it is still called Strouds Run Road after turning) and drive 2.1 miles to enter Strouds Run State Park. Continue 1.0 mile before turning left on State Park Road, towards the campground. Follow State Park Road 1.2 miles to the Beaver Pond trailhead.
To reach the trail access on the north side of the preserve, follow the directions above for the Beaver Pond Trailhead until you cross the US-33 overpass on Strouds Run Rd. At the stop sign just past the overpass, turn left on Peach Ridge Road and follow it 2.8 miles. Shortly after passing a house at 11777 Peach Ridge Road, turn right on a small, dead-end dirt road. About 50 feet after turning right, look for the trailhead on the right. You can park on the beginning of the trail but don’t block the dirt road, which serves as the driveway for a home a short way down it.