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Nature preserve opens in Morgan Co.

November 17, 2006|by TRISH RUDDER

GREAT CACAPON, W.Va. - Eidolon Nature Preserve, a new acquisition of The Nature Conservancy in West Virginia, opened to the public recently.

The 354-acre preserve is on Morgan County's Sideling Hill Mountain off Orleans Road in Great Cacapon, about 10 miles west of Berkeley Springs.

According to the Nature Conservancy's recent press release, Eidolon "features dense mountaintop forests, a trail system and commanding views of the Potomac River."

Thomas Minney, the Conservancy's program director of the West Virginia chapter, said the land was set up to be donated to the Nature Conservancy in the early 1970s by Marguerite Zapoleon as a way to protect the property.

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Zapoleon was in her mid-90s when she died two years ago, Minney said.

Eidolon was named for the phantom women Zeus created from mist and light in Greek mythology, he said. It means "image of the ideal," Minney said.

Zapoleon and her late husband, Louis Zapoleon, bought the property in 1945, and they were concerned about its protection in the future and began working with the Conservancy in the early 1970s, he said.

"She was forward thinking," Minney said.

He said Marguerite Zapoleon was an economist from Washington, D.C., and is the author of "Everyone Needs a Mountain: Or Skylife at Eidolon," which was published in 1985.

"Our goal as was Zapoleon's concern is to assist the community to learn about nature," Minney said.

The Potomac Valley Audubon Society (PVAS), which also co-manages Yankauer Preserve in Berkeley County, plans to conduct education activities at Eidolon to teach students about nature.

Minney said the Nature Conservancy has a well-established relationship with PVAS, and it will help take care of Eidolon.

Peter Smith, PVAS president, said "we look forward to working with the Morgan County community to get this preserve up and running and making it a valuable resource for the community."

Minney said a sign marking the entrance off Orleans Road will go up in the spring. An open house ceremony also is planned for the spring.

Smith said the preserve is used for hunting, so visitors should use caution especially during deer hunting season in November and December.

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