Conservancy announces preserve in memory of local woman

The Lindy Roosenburg Preserve just north of Athens may open in late autumn. (Photo Provided)

ATHENS — The Athens Conservancy has announced the creation of a new, 71-acre nature preserve north of Athens that it describes as an exceptional property with mature forests, scenic rock formations and an abundance of wildflowers and wildlife.

The land was purchased chiefly through a fund established by Kate Kelley and Willem Roosenburg, the Selinde Roosenburg Memorial Fund, last year in memory of their daughter to protect the forests and fields of Southeast Ohio for future generations.

Many friends, family, and community members also generously contributed to the effort as a way to remember Selinde, a passionate, local young woman and aspiring wildland firefighter.

The Lindy Roosenburg Preserve, which may open in late autumn, is a scenic property with well-maintained trails that meander through a mature forest with large trees and diverse flora.

The slopes and stream terraces in the northern part of the preserve have an exceptionally rich understory that features abundant trilliums, bloodroot, hepatica, black cohosh, blue cohosh, Dutchman’s breeches, and many ferns. Wildlife, including various species of birds, is plentiful.

“Athens Conservancy is immensely grateful to be able to create this gorgeous preserve, not only as a way to protect this breathtaking place right here in Athens County, but also as a meaningful way to remember the young woman it honors, Selinde Roosenburg,” Chris Fahl, president of the conservancy board, said.

“We are so appreciative Selinde’s parents established a memorial fund that made acquisition of this exceptional property possible. Spending time in a beautiful natural space, breathing in the fresh air, what a wonderful way to celebrate a life. We will all treasure this special place, whether we were fortunate to know Selinde or not.”

Selinde grew up building fairy houses in the woods, splashing in the creeks, and hiking the hills of rural southeast Ohio. She was majoring in forestry at Ohio State University and planned to transfer to the University of Idaho to specialize in wildland fire management.

While working for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, Selinde was mortally injured in March 2021 in a UTV rollover.

At the time she was working with a crew on a controlled forest burn at Richland Furnace State Forest.

The spectacular forested land will become the Conservancy’s 14th preserve. Selinde’s parents, when first hiking the hills and trails with the land owner, were touched by its beauty, and describe it as a place that Selinde would have felt at home, whether hiking to a high ridge view above the dense canopy, or cooling off in its deep ravines, lush with native flora.

Athens Conservancy plans to build a parking area and access drive on the property this fall. Hopes are that the preserve will open to the public in late November or December. Watch the Conservancy website (athensconservancy.org) and social media for updates.

The Selinde Roosenburg Fund is housed at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio and is accepting donations for future land preservation in the Athens County area. FAO is a regional community foundation serving the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio.

For more information or to make a gift, go to athensconservancy.org.


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