Big Run Preserve Will Be New Delaware County Park

A 104-acre property of upland woods and agricultural fields along U.S. 23 will be preserved for a new Delaware County park, The Trust for Public Land and The Preservation Park District of Delaware County announced today.

The Ohio office of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, facilitated the purchase of the property by The Preservation Park District of Delaware County (PPD). PPD will manage the 104-acre property–and an additional 75 acres already acquired by PPD–as a new park, Big Run Preserve, which currently is scheduled to open in 2012. The property acquisition protects both the important headwater streams that flow into the Olentangy State Scenic River, and the surrounding upland habitat, which supports diverse plant and animal species. The new preserve will also conserve unique shale cliffs of up to four stories in height, intermittent waterfalls, and glacial remnants.

“We are grateful to Preservation Parks-and Delaware County voters-for committing to this remarkable conservation success,” said Bill Carroll, Ohio Director of The Trust for Public Land. “As the county grows, it is vital to provide outdoor recreation for families and visitors and protect important habitat and watersheds. Big Run does both.”

U.S. Highway 23 is a growing commercial corridor between Columbus and Delaware in Ohio, and Delaware County is the fastest growing county in the state. The Big Run property, located south of Hyatts Road and west of U.S. 23, is surrounded by commercial development and planned subdivisions, but the landowner, Iris de la Motte, was committed and eager to conserve the property.

Future plans by PPD include adding walking trails and restoring some former agricultural sections into prairie.

“Preservation Parks is very pleased that we have been able to preserve this special habitat, which is an important part of Ohio’s natural history,” said Rita Au, PPD executive director. “We are grateful to the landowner for her commitment in preserving this unique part of Delaware County and to The Trust for Public Land for their assistance in securing a portion of the necessary funding from grants and loans. We eagerly anticipate the opening of this park, with its exceptional physical features, to the public.”

TPL assembled a complex funding package for the $5.2 million purchase of the Big Run property. PPD utilized $930,000 for the purchase from funding approved by Delaware County voters in a November 2008 tax levy. TPL and PPD worked together to secure $1.2 million from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund; and $70,000 from Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ state-side Land and Water Conservation funding. TPL also assisted PPD in qualifying for an 8-year, $3 million loan from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Pollution Control Loan Fund.

“My family would be pleased that this little piece of nature has been preserved and I am most grateful to those who helped turn this dream into a reality,” said Iris de la Motte. “I can’t wait until everyone can enjoy it and I look forward to supporting Preservation Parks in this process.”

Since it was founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land has helped protect nearly 3 million acres of land in 47 states. In Ohio, TPL has protected more than 10,000 acres valued at more than $86 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.

Preservation Parks of Delaware County is the natural parks district for the county. Since its first tax levy was approved in 1999, PPD has opened eight parks and preserved more than 1,000 acres of natural habitat