115 Acres of Pristine OH Wetlands Protected

COVENTRY TOWNSHIP, OH, 12/16/08 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL) of Ohio and Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, today announced the protection of 115 acres of ecologically important land, including some of the state’s most pristine wetlands.

The property, known as the Confluence Park Wetlands, abuts the Tuscarawas River and the north end of Long Lake, which has the highest water quality of any of the lakes in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Portage Lakes system. At least a dozen threatened species of plants are known to be present on the land. Located off North Turkeyfoot Road, the property also provides a potential trail linkage between the existing Firestone Metro Park and the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.

“There is little question that development of this property for multifamily-residential or commercial purposes would destroy or severely impact these wetlands and the water quality of the Tuscarawas River,” said Bill Carroll, TPL – Ohio Director. “Now, this property will exist in its natural state for public enjoyment.”

TPL, a national non-profit land conservation group, helped coordinate the transaction between Metro Parks, Serving Summit County and the land owner, Marilyn Buckey, who wanted to preserve the land in its natural state in memory of her parents, Robert A. and Jean C. Meyers.

“I am happy to know that this property will not be developed commercially or residentially,” Buckey said. “The land is beautiful, and I am thrilled that it will be there for the wildlife and the public for years to come.”

The land was acquired using $3.1 million in funding from the Ohio EPA Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program, provided in conjunction with wastewater treatment improvements by the city of Willoughby and the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati.

In a separate transaction, the city of Akron purchased a 19-acre portion of the property on the opposite side of North Turkeyfoot Road for its economic development district.

This is the latest land conservation success stemming from an on-going partnership between The Trust for Public Land and Metro Parks, Serving Summit County. TPL recently helped coordinate the acquisition of the 227-acre Pond Brook South property, which is now part of Liberty Park in Twinsburg.

“Part of our mission is to acquire, conserve and manage natural resources, and the Confluence Park Wetlands project is a natural fit,” said Keith Shy, director-secretary of Metro Parks, Serving Summit County. “It complements the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail and protects the watershed of the Portage Lakes.”

Since it was founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land has helped protect more than 2.5 million acres of land in 46 states. In Ohio, The Trust for Public Land has protected 10,000 acres valued at more than $81 million. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its mission to preserve land for people. The organization receives leadership support from the George Gund Foundation, the Cleveland Foundation, the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation and the George B. Storer Foundation. For more information, please visit The Trust for Public Land – Ohio office on the web at www.tpl.org/ohio.

Metro Parks, Serving Summit County manages nearly 10,000 acres, including 13 developed parks, six conservation areas and more than 120 miles of trails, with 18 miles of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Annual attendance averages 4 million visitors. For information, call 330-867-5511 or visit www.summitmetroparks.org.