The large parcel is significant from a conservation perspective.
MESOPOTAMIA -- The Chagrin River Land Conservancy has completed its first conservation project in Trumbull County by protecting 345 acres in Mesopotamia Township.
The project was in partnership with the Presbytery of the Western Reserve (Presbyterian Church USA) and Gates Mills resident Betsy Juliano.
The presbytery donated to the conservancy a land protection agreement -- known as a conservation easement -- on the 345-acre Highlands Camp in the northwest corner of Trumbull County along the Geauga County line.
In 1955, the presbytery acquired the camp, which it operated as a Christian camp and conference center that provided children and adults with the opportunity to enjoy the landscape.
Juliano, who owns a farm adjacent to Highlands Camp, bought the protected camp property and became the long-term owner and steward of the land.
"This project was possible because of the presbytery's dedication to protecting the land and because of Betsy Juliano's commitment to taking the responsibility of long-term stewardship," said Mark Skowronski, director of the conservancy's land protection program.
"CRLC was privileged to have had the opportunity to work with both parties to protect the property in perpetuity while meeting everyone's goals."
The 345-acre parcel is significant from a conservation perspective, officials said, for many reasons:
UIt contains diverse habitats including ravines forested with old-growth trees, and uplands with towering hemlock, beech, maple, and oak trees -- including several 6-foot diameter white oaks.
UOld Mill Creek, a major tributary of the Grand River, flows through a hemlock gorge in the southwest section of the property.
ULimited areas that are not forested may be used for agricultural purposes and nonprofit camp and conference uses also may continue.
UMeadows, wetlands, forests and the numerous cool, clean headwater streams will remain in their natural state.
The conservancy is a private, nonprofit conservation organization that works with landowners and governmental entities to preserve the scenic beauty, rural character and natural resources of Northeast Ohio.
It is led by 25 trustees, 12 employees and many volunteers. CRLC has protected more than 6,000 acres since its founding in 1987.