Dairy Barn Ora Anderson Trail

Dairy Barn Ora Anderson Trail

8000 Dairy Lane Athens, Ohio 45701

Dairy Barn Ora Anderson Trail webpage and map

About this Location

Ora E. Anderson (1911-2006) was one of the founders of the Dairy Barn Arts Center and played many roles throughout his life including artist, author, journalist, nature conservationist, devoted father, and community leader. He was known for his wood carving, creating more than 1,000 bird carvings. He and his wife, Harriet Jacoby Anderson, spearheaded the movement to save the Dairy Barn from demolition in 1977 and are directly responsible for laying the ground work for what the Barn has grown to become today.

In 2014, the Dairy Barn Arts Center developed a plan to do an expansion of the Dairy Barn, rebrick the parking lot, and to create the Ora Anderson Trail. Due to his dedication to saving the Dairy Barn, his love of birds, land and animal conservation, the Board of the Dairy Barn Arts Center decided to honor him by developing a nature trail in his name on the 32 acres of woods behind the Barn.

In 1912, land on Dairy Lane was purchased for pasture and to build a dairy operation to support the Athens Asylum. The dairy barn was completed in 1914, and provided dairy products to the patients, workers, and staff at the Athens Asylum. In the 1970s, the dairy operations ceased at the Dairy Barn. Upon hearing that the Dairy Barn was going to be torn down, a group of citizens lead by Harriet and her husband, Ora Anderson, members of the Hocking Valley Arts Council, along with members of the community, saved the Dairy Barn for an Arts Center. In 1978, The State of Ohio and the County Board of Mental Health donated the dairy barn to the Hocking Valley Arts Council to be the home of the Dairy Barn Arts Center.

Years later, the Dairy Barn received the deed to the property , the dairy barn and the 32 acres was deeded to the Dairy Barn Arts Center by the State of Ohio. Over the last 40 years, the 32 acres of pasture have since turned into a wooded area. There is a beautiful ridge at the back of the acreage and a beautiful hillside. In 2018, the wooded area was opened to the pubic with the Ora Anderson Trail at the Dairy Barn Arts Center for the community to engage in healthy experiences in the outdoors.

The Ora Anderson Trail at the Dairy Barn Arts Center is a place for the community to engage in experiences in The Dairy Barn Arts Center and outdoors on the trail. Goals of the trail include: engagement in nature, arts, and wellness as holistic experiences for the mind, body, and spirit while in the outdoors.

The Arts Center offers monthly programming in each of these areas, as well as one monthly offering that can be self-guided. These programs range from a variety of activities, such as yoga, art workshops, nature bathing, and bird walks just to name a few.

Deepening one’s connection to nature can bring well being, healing and peace to the mind, body, and spirit as well as form a deeper connection to the environment. Through taking arts onto our trail, one can find a place of connective expression, through the sensory, mindful nature of being in the outdoors.

Restrooms at the Dairy Barn Arts Center.

Notable Trails

The Ora Anderson trail behind the Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens is a delightful one-mile loop. The Dairy Barn had been an active dairy for the Athens Lunatic Asylum (now known as The Ridges) and Ora Anderson, among his vast conservation accomplishments, was instrumental in the preservation of the barn, its transformation into an arts center, and the trail system behind it.

The rather steep, sometimes muddy and rough, loop trail that winds up the hillside and opens up to a clear cut, whose scrubby edges sometimes gift you with Fox (which I found in March) and Vesper Sparrows. The open treeless hilly area on the southern end is good for raptors, Eastern Bluebirds, and more sparrows. The loop trail continuing to the north is good for migrating vireos and warblers.

The Dairy Barn Ora Anderson Trail is adjacent to The Ridges at Ohio University and connects to trails at The Ridges.

Parking for the Ora Anderson Trail is at the Dairy Barn Arts Center.

Content from Melissa Wales, Ohio Ornithological Society Southeast Regional Director and Dairy Barn Ora Anderson Trail webpage