Courtesy photo The Western Reserve Land Conservancy has acquired a large portion of the Oberlin Great South Woods, which has forests, wetlands and a sedge meadow. The property will be used for passive outdoor recreation, including walking, jogging, birdwatching, picnicking, and nature study.
A 63-acre portion of the Oberlin Great South Woods has been purchased and will be set aside for preservation, recreation, and nature study.
The non-profit Western Land Conservancy announced Thursday that it has used a Clean Ohio Conservation Fund grant to buy the land, located between US 20 and West Hamilton Street, from West Park Ltd.
County records show the sale totaled $488,000 for three parcels.
The property is located in the Black River watershed. Home to several rare species of birds, reptiles, and amphibians, it has been targeted for conservation for more than a decade.
The Oberlin Great South Woods will continue to provide educational opportunities, including the study of unique habitats such as vernal pools, high quality mid-successional maple-hickory-oak forest, and successional fields, the Conservancy said.
“Preserving this part of the Oberlin Great South Woods is significant for many reasons,” said Andy McDowell, vice president of western field operations for the Land Conservancy. “First, it contains great habitat and will help protect many rare plant and animal species. Additionally, it will help control stormwater runoff, which has been an issue in that area for some time. Last, but not least, the land between Hamilton Road and (US) 20 will eventually see increased development pressure. This project helps to set aside critical natural areas and open space before too much development takes place.”
Western Reserve Land Conservancy has initiated discussion about long-term ownership of the property with the Lorain County Metro Parks.
In Fall 2014, Oberlin city council approved a resolution supporting the project and Clean Ohio application.
Funding from the Oberlin College Green Ecological Design and General Efficiency Fund, a student board, also helped make the project possible.