NAMI - Athens, An Affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Ohio




Track Bobcats on NAMI's Ridges Cemeteries Nature Walk


February 2013


Until changes in technology in farming and industry in the early twentieth century took away most incentives to cut forests, Athens County, like most of Eastern United States, was a deforested moonscape.  However, since the 1930s, a process of spontaneous reforestation commenced. With it, most native wildlife which been gone for over a hundred years began to return. In the 1950s and 1960s people began to see deer. Soon other wonderful creatures - turkeys, coyotes, Canada Geese, etc. - came back.


The Ridges Cemeteries Nature Walk- originally created to fight stigma against persons with mental illness by highlighting the natural beauty of the old mental hospital cemeteries and surrounding landscape - shows the return of nature's splendor to our wonderful Ridges. With a copy of our free Visitor's Guides - available at both entrances - hikers can read about the decades-long process of reforestation  and observe  twenty numbered points of biological interest.  Deer, turkey, and all sorts of birds are common.


If you are very lucky, you may even see one of the fairly numerous - but very shy - bobcats which reside there. If you don't see them in the flesh, however, you will almost certainly see their tracks after a snow storm.  They are hard to miss: One golf-ball size impression after the other in a straight line like the ones shown below:



Ridges bobcat tracks as captured in 2013 by father and son Keith and Alex Macartney


Enjoy the Nature Walk - even in winter!





Contact NAMI - Athens
Appalachian Behavioral Health Care, 100 Hospital Drive, Athens OH 45701
Phone: 740-593-7424   e-mail: