Captina Conservancy, a land trust in Belmont County, was approached in the fall of 2014 by a landowner named Nora Hines from the adjacent county to the south, Monroe County. She was seeking long-term protection and preservation of her property. Even though the property is located outside of Captina's primary focus area, they agreed to meet with her to consider it. Nora lives in a small cabin off the grid, powered by a few solar panels. She does not own a vehicle, but utilizes the county senior citizen van once a week to journey to the only town some 20 miles away for groceries and a visit to the public library to use a computer, do research, check out books , etc. Nora is a retired botanist having worked for the state of Ohio as an inspector for nurseries and landscaping companies. Having never married she has no heirs.
However, when Captina met Nora and heard the story of her life and of her property, they knew they wanted to partner with her to protect the property in perpetuity. She and her sister, along with the help of a couple of college classmates, had bought 84 acres in 1967 for $2,000. At the time it was barren, rocky, eroded and almost totally devoid of topsoil. It had been logged and farmed heavily to the point that little was growing and there were numerous eroded gullies. Over the years they systematically planted, observed, repaired, and re-established plant cover and young forest to the point that the now 112 acre property is once again healthy and diverse, with over 50 species of trees and shrubs. Six headwater drainages are encompassed by this beautiful forest. The owner’s life focus has been to restore it to a naturally healthy state of forest cover and wildlife habitat. She wants it to continue its transition back to a mature stand of forest and to serve as a research and educational resource for generations to come. The Conservancy is in the process of purchasing the property with Clean Ohio conservation funds. Nora will retain the right to live there. She is contributing the proceeds from the sale to serve as an endowment for the property’s long term protection.