Morgan Preserve: Park
504 Acres in Shalersville
Thanks to a partnership between government agencies, private donors and a nonprofit land trust, 504 acres once slated for development will now be the Portage Park District’s largest park.
The Park District and Western Reserve Land Conservancy, a nonprofit organization working to preserve natural areas and farms throughout northern Ohio, have announced the acquisition of the Upper Cuyahoga Bog Preserve, which is south of the Ohio Turnpike and east of state Route 44 in Shalersville Township. Christine Craycroft, Park District Executive Director, said that because of the restrictions imposed by the grants, which were for water quality protection and wildlife habitat, plans for the property will be for passive uses such as hiking, bird watching and educational programs. The property is home to several rare and endangered species, including the yellow-bellied sapsucker bird. The wetlands, woods and fields also protect 8,000 linear feet of a tributary to the Upper Cuyahoga River.
The Land Conservancy will hold a conservation easement on the property, which is an agreement that provides extra assurance that the natural and scenic resources are permanently protected. “It’s a beautiful property that will provide value and enjoyment for the public for generations to come” said Craycroft, who has headed the
district since 1998. “Now we’re looking forward to developing management plans and seeking community support — donations and volunteers — to open it as a park.”
The opportunity to acquire the property was made possible with the professional assistance of the Land Conservancy, which helped apply for funding through the state’s Water Pollution Control Loan Fund. In this case, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District sponsored acquisition of the land as part of the loan agreement it has with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for improvement of its sewer system. The program makes efficient use of EPA dollars for water quality by linking watershed protection with sewer system funding.