HEATHER MEADE/Advocate Photo
The Donna May Campbell Preserve, located in Beamsville just off of Greenville-St. Mary’s-B Road, opened Saturday with a ribbon cutting. Many members of the community, including the Campbell family, Darke County Parks staff and volunteers, and local dignitaries including Diane Delaplane, Darke County commissioner, Julie Monnin, Darke County judge and Friends of the Parks District trustee, and Bob Wagner, Beamsville trustee.
DARKE COUNTY - The ribbon cutting for the Donna May Campbell Preserve, located in Beamsville, just off of Greenville-St. Marys Road, was held Saturday morning. With only 4.7 acres of land, this is the smallest park in the Darke County Parks District (DCPD), stated Roger Van Frank, director of the DCPD. However, there’s a reason such a small acreage was accepted, he said.
“The significance of this property is that it lies along the Scenic Stillwater River,” Van Frank commented. “This allows us to continue preservation and conservation efforts, along with stream banking, and it’s a part of the headwaters of the Stillwater River. It’s located in a great area, Beamsville, and there are volunteers who live just two blocks away who can keep a keen eye on it.”
Jerry Campbell donated the piece of land in his mother’s namesake, Van Frank said. The trail has been nicknamed “Beaver Trail,” Van Frank said, because of the number of beavers along the banks, doing their dam engineering to keep the natural landscape, and just two weeks ago there were no trails, no parking lot, and no sign, he said.
This year marks the 40th anniversary for the Darke County Parks District, Van Frank stated, and this preserve is a great opportunity to continue the DCPD’s mission of conservation and preservation in Darke County.
“We’re reminded that we’re all stewards of what we’ve been given,” stated Dan Schipfer, a commissioner of the Darke County Parks District. “More people want to be outside, and that’s a great thing. One concern they had when the parks started, was that we wouldn’t have enough volunteers, but we’ve had volunteers come forward time after time…that keeps the parks running, and we thank them.”
Van Frank stated that in his 35 years working with park districts, he’s never found a more giving community than the one here in Darke County. Without the collaboration of volunteers, the court system, and other local entities, the Darke County Park District wouldn’t be able to make it, he continued.
The Donna May Campbell Preserve will be a great place for passive recreation, Van Frank stated, with hiking, fishing, and hopefully kayaking, it’s a beautiful place to visit, with a lot of Darke County family history nearby. The preserve is open sunrise to sunset, just like all the other Darke County Parks in the district, he said.