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City Mission donates 58-acre site along Grand River to Nature Conservancy

By Tonya Sams, Plain Dealer (blog)

1729 days ago   Article ID# 824543
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The Nature Conservancy

ROCK CREEK, OHIO (Plain Dealer (blog)) - Another piece of the majestic Grand River has been preserved.

The Nature Conservancy announced Monday that the City Mission donated its 58-acre Grand Valley Christian Center Camp along the state-designated wild and scenic river in Ashtabula County.

The City Mission had owned the land since 1965. Its trustees decided to donate the land to the conservancy in November.

The conservancy owns 1,300 acres in Ashtabula County called the Morgan Swamp Nature Preserve. The newly acquired land will be added to this holding and become the base of operations for the conservancy's Northeast Ohio office. The Conservancy bought 200 acres of the camp from the Mission in 2009, according to a news release.

"It was time for us to pass this land along to a new owner, and we could not think of a better steward than The Nature Conservancy," Richard Trickel, CEO of The City Mission, said in a news release. "We wanted to ensure that this place, which holds so many memories for so many Clevelanders, would be protected for the future."

The donation includes a barn, lodge, gym, cabins, administrative buildings, ponds and land along the Grand River.

Karen Adair, director of Northeast Ohio projects for The Nature Conservancy, said that the group plans to meet with stakeholders who can evaluate the camp and its importance to the community and decide how the land and buildings can be used.

Josh Knights, the executive director for The Nature Conservancy in Ohio, said he looks forward to the land being an asset to the community.

"It's possible to invite the Ashtabula Visitors Bureau or the Ashtabula MetroParks to have their own office space," Knights said. "It's pretty exciting to invest in a community that's having a tough time with the economy."

Knights and Adair said that this donation will help preserve natural resources along the Grand River. The conservancy plans to start a three-year project this year to restore the Grand River watershed's 530 acres of wetlands.

"We have always worked to protect the Grand River watershed and Grand River lowlands were the camp is located," Adair said. "This [donation] will fit well into our conservation program."

The Grand River is known for it "north woods" habitat among conservationists, according to the conservancy. The Grand River area is also known for its good water quality, fish diversity, rare plants and yellow birch and hemlock trees.

This piece of land fits into a larger multicounty effort to protect and preserve the Grand River, which has its headwaters in Portage and Geauga counties, then flows through Trumbull and Ashtabula counties and finally Lake County before entering Lake Erie at Fairport Harbor.

The Natural History Museum and Lake Metroparks own hundred of acres along the river.

The wild river designation is the hardest state designation to obtain because the river's banks must be at least 75 percent forested at least 300 feet from the bank.

Copyright 2015 Plain Dealer (blog)   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1729 days ago   Article ID# 824543

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