AOA recently collaborated with ODNR Division of Mineral Resources to identify and secure an abandoned mine opening at our Trimble Community Forest property near Glouster.

This property contains several historic coal mines.  The No. 10 Sunday Creek coal mine contained a small company town and the industrial facilities common in coal production.  The town, church and facilities have been mostly demolished and removed. A few foundations and revegetated refuse piles still exist.  One open mine entry along Derthick Road was identified by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) as a public hazard. Old underground mines can contain hazardous gases and are in a state of dangerous collapse if disturbed.

ODNR’s Abandoned Mine Lands Program reclaims abandoned coal mine problems that present a public safety or environmental hazard.  Mine openings often provide potential roosting and hibernation sites for bats. Bats provide important environmental services, including the consumption of large numbers flying insects. The Trimble opening is within the range of the endangered Indiana bat.  It was determined by ODNR and AOA that a “bat gate” would be the best form of closure for this entry.  It was designed using specifications recommended by Bat Conservation International.

The bat gate is composed of steel angle iron with specific open dimensions which allow for free passage of bats but prevent the public from entering. The gate was completed in June under supervision of ODNR.