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North Central Ohio Land

Conservancy
2017 Achievements
The North Central Ohio Land Conservancy, Inc. (NCOLC) made significant progress on its
mission to protect the natural heritage of North Central Ohio through conservation easements
and public education regarding the importance of natural areas. In 2017, NCOLC protected three
new nature preserves, expanded trail and land management efforts, increased public education,
and strengthened our organizational capacity.

New Nature Preserves


Hammon Conservation Easement:
NCOLC recorded a conservation
easement for the Hammon property,
which permanently protects this 172-
acre property and its Old Growth
Forest as a public nature preserve.
This preserve features mighty oaks,
delicate spring wildflowers, and
rushing waters among its many
attractions. The project was funded
through a Clean Ohio grant and a gift
from the Friends of Gorman Nature
Center.

Tugend Road Conservation Easement:


NCOLC helped the Richland County Park
District purchase the 27.6-acre Tugend Road
property from private landowners. Protected as
a public nature preserve, this property features
12 acres of tall-grass prairie, shrub thickets and
woodlands that can be viewed from 1.5 miles of
public hiking trails that run through the
preserve. The project was funded through a
Clean Ohio grant and NCOLC’s contribution.
Valley View Purchase: NCOLC purchased the 16.5 acre Valley View property. Formerly part
of a ski resort, this preserve is notable for its sweeping hilltop view of the Clear Fork Valley. The
purchase was made possible through a grant from the Gorman Family Fund of the Richland
County Foundation.

Trail and Land Management


Clear Fork Valley Scenic Trail: The
CFVST is NCOLC’s crowning
achievement, with 600 protected acres
connected by 8 miles of public hiking
trails. The trail was maintained
primarily by volunteers, and NCOLC
provided supplemental labor from the
invasive removal team to help with
trail repairs and erosion control.

Stoller Road Trail: NCOLC also invested resources in the Stoller Road Trail, which runs along
the north side of the Clear Fork Reservoir on City of Mansfield land. Volunteer Mark Smith
spearheaded the efforts to revive and repair the trail, which is open to cross country cyclists,
unlike the CFVST.

Invasive Removal
“Healing Land and
People”: Prior to 2016,
NCOLC depended
almost exclusively on
volunteer labor to
remove invasive plants,
but the invasives had a
multi-decade head start
on us, and that was more
than our sporadic
volunteer efforts could
handle. Since 2016,
NCOLC has hired and trained people in recovery from heroin addiction to work part-time
removing invasives. Half our trainees dropped out the first day, but those who returned for the
second day embraced our Old Growth Woods and land ethic as their own.

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NCOLC raised over $15,000 through our Richland Gives campaign, “Healing Land and People,”
to help us to combat both epidemics – invasive species in our forest and addiction in our
communities. We taught our invasives crew about invasive plants, native plants and land
conservation, concentrating their efforts on our Old Growth Woods on the Hammon land. The
team reported that working in the forest felt therapeutic and gave them a sense of
accomplishment.

Prairie Improvements & Vacant Land


Reforestation: Our 2017 prairie and reforestation
efforts, led by volunteer naturalist Larry Smith and his
wife Elaine, included organizing a prescribed burn at
the Tugend prairie, installing a new sandstone bench at
the high point of the Cole Road prairie, and planting
over 1,600 bare-root seedlings to reforest 3 acres of
abandoned, low quality crop field.

Benedict Road Embankment: A 300-


foot stretch of Benedict Road was in
danger of collapsing into the lovely creek
that lies below our "hanging gardens" – a
steep hillside awash with spring flowers
shaded by 200-year-old trees. Thanks to a
grant from the Eugene and Sara Goin
Fund of the Richland County Foundation,
we were able to hire Purdy Construction
to reinforce the weakest 40 feet of the
embankment by carefully placing 65 tons
of limestone. In 2018, we will repair the
rest of the embankment and will “seed”
the embankment with native ferns and
plants.

Public Education and Organizational


Development
Mohican State Forest: NCOLC partnered with Mohican Advocates, Sierra Club, the Ohio
Environmental Council and numerous allies to protect Mohican State Forest from expanded
logging. As a result of months of advocacy, educational forums, and letter writing campaigns,

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ODNR Division of Forestry
officials and forest advisory
council members, shown in this
photo, made several
improvements to the forest
management plan that addressed
our concerns to the extent
possible.

Public Outreach and


Organizational Development:
Throughout 2017, NCOLC
expanded our public education
and organizational development efforts, increased our public presentations and expanded our
social media efforts.

After receiving a significant donation in 2017, NCOLC was able to hire our first ever Director to
work on outreach, partnership building, fundraising and organizational development.

In December 2017, NCOLC applied for and was accepted to the Osborne Meese Academy,
which is a year-long capacity building course for non-profits hosted by the Richland County
Foundation. NCOLC will utilize knowledge gained from these monthly classes throughout 2018
to strengthen the organization and promote sustainability.

Conclusion
In sum, NCOLC had a successful 2017, gaining new preserves for the benefit of our community
and environment, increasing our land maintenance efforts, and strengthening our organizational
capacity and public education efforts. All of this progress was made possible thanks to the help
of our outstanding volunteers, dedicated staff, organizational partners, and supportive donors.