Did You Know? Local Citizens’ Role in Creating the Falls of the Ohio State Park

Perhaps you remember wandering around the Falls of the Ohio before the park and interpretive center existed. A few trails leading to the fossil beds and water’s edge, and spectacular views of Louisville’s skyline on the other side of the Ohio River met you on your adventures as you explored this little-known place.

Fortunately, citizens in Clarksville and other communities around the Falls of the Ohio recognized the area for what it is – a unique urban oasis of geologic, historical and natural significance that should be preserved and interpreted for all to experience and appreciate. In 1987 citizens came together to create the Falls of the Ohio Foundation, which was charged with the task of raising funds to build a first-class interpretive center and oversee its development. In 1990 The Falls of the Ohio Foundation developed a partnership with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), which led to the creation of IDNR’s 20th state park, The Falls of the Ohio State Park. After much work by many partners, the interpretive center opened in 1994. Fast forward a couple of decades, after a multi-year, $6 million campaign, a newly renovated interactive and immersive interpretive center was re-opened 2016.

The mission of The Falls of the Ohio Foundation is to raise funds and support in order to preserve and interpret the scientific, historical, and cultural heritage of the Falls of the Ohio and to promote educational initiatives for a better understanding of this unique natural resource.

The Falls of the Ohio State Park and Foundation enjoy a unique partnership that has gained national attention. In 2017 the National Association of State Park Directors awarded the Falls of the Ohio Foundation the President’s Award for a Local Organization in recognition for its “commitment, dedication, focus and drive to support Falls of the Ohio State Park.” This partnership tells a story about how engaged citizens can help make significant contributions to the preservation of our natural areas.

Want to learn how you can get involved? Click here to learn more about the Foundation and how you can help make a difference by donating or becoming a member.