In 2000, PEC purchased over 1,200 acres of Ovoka Farm (in Paris, VA) to ensure that this beautiful property — and the vista enjoyed by a young George Washington — remains rural for generations to come. All of the land is now protected by conservation easements and back in private ownership. However, PEC retained ownership of 50 acres at the top of the ridge called the Piedmont Memorial Overlook.
PEC will care for this 50 acres in perpetuity — a beautiful site that overlooks one of the most protected landscapes in the Eastern United States. PEC has three main goals for this land: to act as a memorial site for this region’s conservationists; to be a showcase and demonstration site for good habitat management practices; and to provide the public access to a spectacular overlook along the Appalachian Trail.
PEC received a grant from the USDA to improve wildlife habitat on the property, and we’ve been busy ever since! We started renovating a fescue pasture into a native grass and wildflower meadow, as well as working to remove and control woody invasive plants on the property. We’ve also worked with Virginia Working Landscapes on a number of bird, pollinator and vegetation surveys.
We also host all sorts of outreach events at the Piedmont Memorial Overlook—such as bird walks, wild edible walks, land management demonstrations, history hikes, and more. In the meantime, hikers along the Appalachian Trail and the Whitehouse Ridge Trail can enjoy the views provided by this high overlook to the Piedmont. Stay tuned for more events and updates on this beautiful corner of the world!