Wetlands group’s Fairborn land donation aims to expand nature trail

FAIRBORN — A conservation land trust plans to give the city of Fairborn more than 67 acres to help secure $1.3 million to expand a nature trail.

The Beaver Creek Wetlands Association’s efforts involve two tracts east of Interstate 675 and south of Dayton-Yellow Springs Road, officials said.

The group wants to donate the 56-acre Amon Reserve and about 11 acres known as Beerman Fen to Fairborn to help get a Clean Ohio grant to fund the Spotted Turtle Trail project.

The BCWA needs to convey the land to apply for the $1,362,866 grant, said BCWA Executive Director Jacki Mayer.

Plans call for the trail, a five-year project, to eventually connect parks and reserves between Zimmerman Prairie near U.S. 35 in Beavercreek and Pearl’s Fen in Fairborn, Mayer said.

“Our goal is to make the wetlands accessible for everybody in the community,” she said, noting the 2,300 acres the group has conserved draws people from Columbus, northern Cincinnati and Richmond, Ind.

“We want to make sure that everybody who comes gets to enjoy this incredibly beautiful and endangered ecosystem that’s here in peoples’ backyards,” Mayer added.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

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Mayer said her group plans to build ADA compliant boardwalks so the trail could be experienced by “as many people as possible.”

The grant application deadline is March 18, she said.

Greene County projects previously receiving Clean Ohio funds include a BCWA prairie and wetland restoration for $82,500, state records show.

Beavercreek Twp. was also awarded $342,400 for preservation work at the Koogler Wetland Preserve near the Amon land, according to the Ohio Public Works Commission.

Fairborn City Council plans to hold a special meeting Monday night to accept the two parcels, said City Manager Rob Anderson.

The BCWA would put a conservation easement on the land, which would remain “into perpetuity,” Anderson said.

The Amon Reserve tract is valued at about $1 million, but with the conservation easement that would drop about 80%, he said.

“But for this conservation easement, it is prime development land,” Anderson added.

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The move would not be a financial burden on Fairborn, officials said.

“It protects the wetlands from development. And that keeps the wetlands in as pristine condition as we can for future generations,” Mayor Paul Keller said.

“It’s a benefit to Fairborn residents to have access to that through walking trails or whatever is developed through there,” he added. “And it keeps the development off of the wetlands there. It takes the pressure off the wetlands and helps preserve it.”

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Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

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