Trumbull board acquires land
By Ed Runyan
The Trumbull County MetroParks Board has acquired another large tract of land in the northern part of Trumbull County through the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund that it will turn into the county’s largest metropark.
The land is near the center of Bloomfield Township, on the south side of state Route 87 and just west of the Western Reserve Greenway, which also is a metropark.
The new park is 443 acres — about two-thirds of a square mile — making it the largest park in the county system. The MetroParks board received the title to the land a couple of weeks ago.
The West Farmington Nature Preserve in Farmington Township that was acquired in 2006 at a cost of $1,088,000 — $816,000 of it from the conservation fund — previously was the largest park, at 265 acres.
The MetroParks acquired the Bloomfield Township land through a 2011 Clean Ohio grant of $691,231. Matching money of $229,025 came from the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, a nonprofit organization based in Geauga County.
The new park contains 225 acres of Category 3 wetlands and three endangered animal species, said Zachary Svette, project coordinator for the MetroParks board.
According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Category 3 wetlands are wetlands with “superior wetland function and/or integrity.” By comparison, Category 1 wetlands have minimal wetland function.
Like the West Farmington Nature Preserve and several other pieces of property the MetroParks board has acquired in recent years, the purpose of acquiring the land is to preserve it, especially the pristine wetlands, Svette said.
Parts of the park will be good for passive recreation, such as walking, hiking, fishing, bird watching or photography, Svette said. This park also may prove useful as a location for an additional parking area for users of the Western Reserve Greenway walking and biking trail, Svette said.
The closest parking area now is the Oakfield Trail head, about four miles south at Hyde-Oakfield Road in Bristol Township.
It may be several years before officials start to consider any changes, such as the parking area, Svette said.
Rachel McCartney, program manager for community development at Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, said the last she heard, a committee of the Ohio Legislature was proposing additional money for the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund for the near future. The state has provided no new money for the fund the past two years, she said.
The Bloomfield project was funded with money leftover from the last round, she said.