227 Acres of Pristine Wetlands Protected (OH)

TWINSBURG, OHIO, 2/16/07: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) joined with Metro Parks, Serving Summit County today to announce the protection of 227 acres that include some of Ohio’s most pristine wetlands.

The Pond Brook property is situated at the headwaters to Tinkers Creek, the largest watershed in the Cuyahoga River basin. The property’s wetlands are a refuge for several rare, threatened and endangered species of plants and animals, including the bald eagle.

TPL, a national nonprofit land conservation organization, purchased the property last year using resources from the Ohio Land Protection Fund, TPL’s capital-revolving fund for land acquisitions in Ohio. With today’s transfer, the land becomes part of Liberty Park, which is a partnership between Metro Parks, Serving Summit County and the City of Twinsburg.

The land was acquired using $580,000 in funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, secured by the Ohio congressional delegation, and $2.7 million from the Ohio EPA Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program. The Ohio EPA funds were provided in conjunction with wastewater treatment improvements by the cities of Wadsworth and Lorain.

“This is a valuable property, and we’re happy to protect its quality wetlands and threatened species,” said Keith Shy, director-secretary of Metro Parks, Serving Summit County.

Preservation of the Pond Brook property completes a 3,200-acre natural landscape extending from Summit to Portage counties. The land connects three existing parks and preserves – Liberty Park, Tinkers Creek State Park and Nature Preserve and the Aurora Nature Preserve, which TPL conserved in partnership with the city of Aurora.

“This project could not have happened without the efforts of the cities of Wadsworth and Lorain and the Ohio congressional delegation as well as funding from NOAA, the Ohio EPA and Akron Community Foundation,” said David Vasarhelyi, project manager for The Trust for Public Land. “This success illustrates the importance of our partnerships – with land owners, communities and long-term conservation groups – to achieve the mission of conserving land for people.”

Since it was founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land has helped protect more than 2.2 million acres of land in 46 states. In Ohio, the Trust for Public Land has protected more than 9,500 acres valued at $60 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 more than 9,000 acres, including 13 developed parks, six conservation areas and more than 120 miles of trails, including 16 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.