With the acquisition of any new property comes a series of new responsibilities for Geauga Park District’s Natural Resource Management staff, who are already hard at work on the property formerly known as Wicked Woods Golf Course in Burton and Newbury townships. Park Biologist Paul Pira reports that now through mid to late June, he will be conducting mapping, inventory and biological surveys on these 180 acres located at the corner of Routes 44 and 87.
Initial assessments by Pira last summer, before the $1.5 million purchase in November, found that this property protects the west branch of the Cuyahoga River and features streams and blocks of mature forest. It is home to amphibians along the river, freshwater mussels in the stream, and a diversity of native wildflowers along the shore. And its coldwater habitat, fairly uncommon in Ohio, is home to a number of unique species of fish and insect that rely on cold water to live.
“The goal is to develop and write a natural resource management and restoration plan for the property,” Pira said. “This will serve as a guide for the wise development of a conceptual design and development plan, and then eventually a restoration project.”
Geauga Park District hopes to acquire grants to at least partially fund the return of this property to a more natural state, Pira said. A similar project – converting a former golf course to a natural space – remains underway at Geauga Park District’s Orchard Hills Park in Chesterland, and also received grant funding along the way.
The February meeting of Geauga Park District’s Board of Park Commissioners will be the public’s first opportunity to view the newly acquired property at 14085 Ravenna Road. For a current meeting schedule, visit www.geaugaparkdistrict.org under About GPD.
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