Real gems: A Civil War site and a park honored for their beauty and value

Two Northern Kentucky sites have been named “Greenspace Gems” by a regional environmental group.


Green Umbrella has recognized Gunpowder Creek Nature Park in Boone County and Battery Bates Woodland in Kenton County with the honor, which spotlights the region’s protected landscapes.


Three Ohio sites were also recognized: Buttercup Valley Preserve in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood; Riverside Natural Area in Butler County; and Kelley Nature Preserve in Clermont County.


Launched in 2018, the Greenspace Gems program has recognized 30 local properties for their scenic value, biodiversity, scientific importance, or historic interest. The sites are selected by a team of volunteer conservation experts to showcase the region’s variety of natural sites.


Green Umbrella says the program aims to tell the stories of these places to grow public support for greenspace conservation and the organizations leading this work.


“Greater Cincinnati has a wealth of diverse natural environments,” says Green Umbrella executive director, Ryan Mooney-Bullock. “Residents and visitors have access to grassy knolls, forested wetlands, and breathtaking riversides all within a relatively short distance from our city center. We’re excited to share the stories behind these beautiful spaces.”


Boone County’s Gunpowder Park encompasses 122 wooded acres. It features an unpaved, upgraded 1800’s logging trail that travels from an elevation of 830 feet to 620 feet and ends near Gunpowder Creek at a stone seating area. The park also has a stand of mature oaks on the northern hillside that is considered one of the best remaining undisturbed areas of woodland in the region.

The Battery Bates site in Devou Park is considered the best preserved of Northern Kentucky’s two dozen or so Civil War fortification sites. Many have since been destroyed by development. The Battery Bates earthwork built by Union soldiers during the war is clearly visible and still stands up to four feet tall in places. Rifle trenches are still visible as is a section of a military road.

Green Umbrella has also launched an interactive story map featuring pictures of each Greenspace Gem and facts about them.






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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.