STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — The Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District announced its 2020 Conservation Cooperator of the Year Award. The award was presented recently to William and Marsha Cable for their long-term conservation investment in Austin Lake Park.
Located along Town Fork Creek in Knox Township, the property was purchased by Austin B. Cable who, with his son Glenn, opened Austin Lake as a real estate development and recreation park in 1946.
William Cable and his wife, Marsha, took over management of the park in 1988. Under their guidance, the campgrounds, originally constructed in 1965, have seen many upgrades that have included re-purposed limestone from a pipeline project and several buildings can be noted that have been enhanced by timber harvested from the property.
When a pipeline was established on the property, the Cables negotiated a seeding mix of common milkweed and other native pollinator species to be planted by the pipeline company to enhance the conservation value for pollinators and other wildlife.
The Cables are currently installing several waste treatment areas around the camping areas that will sprinkle treated water onto the forested hillside.
The 80-acre lake has seen many improvements including upgrading the Class I dam in 2018 to meet the requirements of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Dam Safety. The banks of the lake’s spillway are armored with repurposed rock; young sycamore and willow trees have been planted along the streambank and shoreline. Assistance for the project came from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service after hurricanes Frances and Ivan severely damaged the creek’s banks in 2004.
Hiking trails wind through the wooded parts of the park. The property has 1,185 forested acres. The Cable family has taken the opportunity to manage this resource and maintain the health and vigor of the forest.
Over the past 10 years, grapevine control has been implemented on about 1,100 acres of the Austin Lake property and invasive tree species have been controlled. Additionally, Ohio Master logger crews have been used to harvest the timber.
In 2013, the forest stewardship of Austin Lake was recognized by the American Tree Farm System with forest certification.
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