Ohio has added 929 acres, an area known as the “Little Smokies of Ohio,” to Shawnee State Forest, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced today.
“By acquiring these ‘Little Smokies’ parcels, ODNR continues to show its commitment toward protecting and fostering the growth of Ohio’s forest lands,” said Robert Boyles, Ohio’s state forester. “These additional woodland acres will fill many of the largest gaps in the Shawnee State Forest, and by using proper management, will provide Ohioans with healthy forests, which create ideal habitats for all of our wildlife, offer countless recreational activities and produce the timber products that contribute to our state’s continued economic growth.”
The 63,747-acre Shawnee State Forest includes Ohio’s only state-designated wilderness area and surrounds the 1,168-acre Shawnee State Park. Together, they are the largest contiguous protected forest in Ohio.
“It’s really satisfying to see the pieces of the puzzle coming together at the Shawnee State Forest as we work to connect it with our Edge of Appalachia Preserve,” said Bill Stanley, assistant Ohio director of The Nature Conservancy, in a release. “There was no question that The Nature Conservancy should assist in making this deal a reality. Having this land under ODNR management will allow the forests to mature, increasing their value to water quality and habitat.”
The addition of the land was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Forest Legacy Program and funding from The Nature Conservancy and NWTF.
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