Northern Kentucky, in the tri-state region of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Taylor Creek watershed, mixed mesophytic eastern deciduous forest. It is only 35 minutes from Downtown Cincinnati, OH and Covington, KY. Accessed by the I-275 loop highway. Only 15 minutes from CVG airport. It is located just outside the small rural village of Petersburg, Ky which was once a booming frontier town and set on top of 10,000 year legacy of inhabitancy from Native Americans.
The property is 60 acres, with a 12 acre lake being the centerpiece and flanked by varying ages of forests and also fields. It sits in the most biodiverse region in the whole temperate world and offers heaps of ecological lessons to be learned. Furthermore, less than 10 acres are cleared but this open space does give us recreational opportunities like event hosting including permaculture based festivals. The property features the following businesses:
The diversity of vegetation, topography, and land use makes for an interesting context in which to operate from. Some areas are steep and deeply wooded while others are flatter and more open. In essence, the event rental area and bar blend into farm whilst campgrounds blend into foraging areas. The lake is never far away and affords recreation opportunities. Furthermore, it’s a place with an almost always open door because of the fishing lake, campground, bar, and farm. There is a past legacy and a future vision.
What has been a life long dream, to take on the family business called Crouch’s Treasure Lake , is slowly happening. My grandparents, Everett Lee and Mary Carol Crouch, started this project/small business in a rural area in 1983 when I was just three years old. It was a very successful pay fishing lake and bar at one time. After years of ups and downs with the property, a development plan was created over the years as my grandparents age crept higher and eventually became ancestors. The next generation owns it now but we as a collective, all with different roles and participation, steward the business and land in varying fashions.
Since 2001, I have been stewarding the forests through clearing campsites, working with invasives, and doing wildlife stand improvements, which
builds of my ecology degree officially titled Fish and Wildlife Management. Essentially I am working through the edge principle to bring more niches to both the wildlife and also to human yields just as I was taught in my original degree and in my permaculture career since 2005.
The main work on the property since the dams rebuilding in 2001, has been managing our vast forest resource and trying to bring access, recreation, and foraging possibilities. It has been mostly the managing of zone 3/4 areas to bring more of a broad-acre, native food forest –rich with patches of Paw Paw (Asimina triloba) and Spicebush in the understory and Oaks, Hickories and Black Walnuts in the overstory.
I was constantly augmenting the forest in my short stints there each year but the forests change of species dynamics is quite obvious with this extended period of feedback. I now have moved back full time to step into a new position within my permaculture career (September 2017). We have expand into other non timber forest products while continuing to improve forest health. The organic farm from Annie Woods, who leases land and the house on the property, has really changed the landscape positively with her organic market garden Dark Wood Farm. Elements are being added all around the property as the development plan unfolds.
Existing Permaculture Elements include:
Future plans include further developing the property with an integrated set of businesses that leverage the natural capitol, take advantage of the proximity to the city and wilds, and embodies the ethics of permaculture within the local movement. Overall it is a place to heal the land and water and learn whilst also simply being. It creates homes for domesticated and wild animals, it allows people to paddle the lake waters and view the waterfall, it gives a temporary home for tourists, and it allows us to have a place of celebration. Foods are produced to contribute to the local foods movement and serve as an educational outlet for stewarding these amazing forest and field resources within this unique climate and ecosystem. It houses an ecovillage, ripe for interconnection, this social ecology reflective of the biodiverse forest and its inter workings. It starts with a vision!