Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Athens is southern Ohio's educational and cultural center. Known both as pastoral and progressive, Athens is home to Ohio University, founded in 1804 as the first institution of higher learning in the Northwest Territories. Today, the university attracts students from every state and some 100 countries, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in a wide range of disciplines. Once the heart of Ohio's coal mining industry, the region now offers a wide range of business and employment opportunities, including healthcare, high tech, and higher education. For outdoor enthusiasts, Athens County is a paradise, offering nearby state parks, a national forest, the Hocking River and a 19-mile recreational trail that links Athens with Nelsonville.