About Us

The Friends of Blackhand Gorge is a nonprofit organization that works in partnership with Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve in Licking County, Ohio. The organization operates out of Newark, Ohio. The Friends has nonprofit IRS 501 (c) (3) tax status, so contributions are deductible to the extent allowed by law.

The organization was an outgrowth of the Blackhand Gorge Historical Society, convened by Jody Holland, local hero in Newark, Ohio, in 2011 to investigate the City's assuming the ownership and operation of the park. If his effort pans out, ODNR may choose to continue his efforts to advocate for and support the park by forming a "Friends" organization. Such organizations already exist at many Ohio state parks. The Friends was incorporated in mid-2007.

The Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve is a four mile (6 km) long sandstone formation through which the Licking River flows in Licking County, Ohio, United States. Located 12 miles (19 km) east of Newark near the tiny town of Toboso, 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) along the gorge were designated an Ohio Nature Preserve in 1975. The gorge is a capsule of Ohio transportation history, having hosted canal boats, steam railroads, electric interurbans and automobiles through the years.

Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve


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