Preserving a Corridor for Ohio’s Buckeye Trail

The idea of a Buckeye Trail was introduced by Merrill Gilfillan in a 1958 article in the Columbus Dispatch. In that article, “A Buckeye Trail, so Far It Is Just an Idea”, Gilfillan proposed that “. . . if a Buckeye Trail is to become a reality, it should be started now. It is time to make a plan and acquire the land.”

The very next year both the Buckeye Trail and its steward the Buckeye Trail Association were created by a small group of founding members including Emma ‘Grandma’ Gatewood. Fifteen years later the Buckeye Trail Preservation Fund was established in honor of Grandma Gatewood and later the past BTA president Emily Gregor for the purpose of buying land or easements along the Buckeye Trail.

The Buckeye Trail has grown in concept from a 500-mile path from the Lake Erie shore to the bluffs of the Ohio River into a 1,400+ mile continuous loop trail traversing Ohio’s varied landscapes. Ohio’s Buckeye Trail extends from the farmland of the northwest, to the hills of Appalachia, the Blackhand sandstone cliffs of the Hocking Hills region, the Bluegrass region of southwest, scenic wetlands and forests across the state, and many historic towns, canal towpaths and abandoned rail grades as well.

Today the BTA carries the original vision of a permanently-protected Buckeye Trail corridor by:

  • Defining and prioritizing a potential Buckeye Trail corridor;
  • Negotiating permanent access for the BT with public land managers and private landowners;
  • Identifying, understanding and employing funding mechanisms for land preservation work;
  • Working closely with the land-trust community and other partners where we share priorities;
  • Building our own capacity to support trail preservation efforts;
  • Developing clear land-management policies that fit with local community and ecological values;
  • Developing positive relationships with public and private landowners along the BT.

You can help preserve the Buckeye Trail and the lands through which it traverses in several ways:

  • If you are a landowner near the Buckeye Trail, consider donating an easement for the BT to cross your property. The Landowner Information Page provides answers to frequently asked questions about becoming a host of Ohio’s BT.
  • Donate to the Buckeye Trail Preservation Fund today to support the BTA’s good work. We offer two methods for donating:
    • Donate online through the DONATE button at the beginning of this page or
    • Download this mail in form and return it with your check
  • Contact us at to volunteer your expertise.

Buckeye Trail Preservation Project Highlights