Historic Land Conservation Project in Chagrin River Valley Complete

November 16, 2022

Western Reserve Land Conservancy recently finalized a complex conservation project, known as Shiverick Preserve, in the Chagrin River Valley that involved multiple landowners, state and federal funding sources, individual donors, and thousands of hours of staff time. This historic property, located in the Village of Hunting Valley, is a natural oasis tucked inside this thriving suburban community. Protecting this land and the natural resources it contains from future development is a conservation victory for the entire Chagrin River Valley and neighboring communities.

Located on the corner of Fairmount Boulevard and Chagrin River Road, the Shiverick Property consists of high-quality habitat including forested uplands with hemlock ravines, Category 3 wetlands, and over two miles of cold water streams that flow into the Chagrin River less than a quarter mile from the Property. All four streams on the Property are characterized as Class A, Primary Headwater Habitat cold water streams, the highest habitat quality and biodiversity rating of all headwater streams in Ohio. Protection of this Property was key to connecting vital habitat to over 2,200 acres of contiguous open space stretching along 7.6 miles of the Chagrin River.

“This project represents all that makes the Land Conservancy a successful, nationally-recognized leader in land conservation and restoration,” said Rich Cochran, president and CEO of Western Reserve Land Conservancy. “We negotiated the purchase of the property, found additional buyers willing to conserve their lands, secured private philanthropic support, worked with state and federal agencies to fund the project, and plan to restore streams and wetlands to ensure the natural beauty and environmental significance of this property is forever protected. We think of our work not in years, but in centuries, as we know that we will forever steward this land to make sure it’s preserved for future generations.”

In addition to working hard to put all the pieces together in order to acquire the property and protect its conservation values, Land Conservancy staff worked tirelessly for decades to raise the remaining funds needed to complete the acquisition of the Property and cover project costs. With three successful public funding grants through the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio program and also with generous private donations from neighboring landowners, members of the community, and other supporters of the project, the Land Conservancy was able to complete this important conservation project.

This project represents all that makes the Land Conservancy a successful, nationally-recognized leader in land conservation and restoration – Rich Cochran

“The Village of Hunting Valley has worked closely with the Land Conservancy for many years, and one of our most important projects has been the Shiverick Property,” said Bruce Mavec, Mayor of the Village of Hunting Valley. “The conservation of this historic property has accomplished a big step toward the completion of protecting the entire River Road Corridor. Our region is fortunate to have Western Reserve Land Conservancy working to maintain the natural beauty and open spaces of our region for the benefit of all.”

The Land Conservancy would like to recognize the Shiverick family, the sellers of the property, for their commitment to land conservation and their patience working through the process of selling this large and ecologically significant property.

“Four generations of our family have enjoyed the striking beauty of this property over the last nearly 90 years,” said Reg Shiverick, former owner of the property. “While that represents only a blink of an eye in its natural history, we are very pleased to participate with the Land Conservancy in protecting this remarkable resource for all time.”

Portions of the property were sold to three individual buyers who agreed to restrictions limiting the number of homes that could be built on each residential property. Approximately 73 acres containing the pristine natural area are now owned by the Land Conservancy and encumbered with a Conservation Easement. The property will become the Land Conservancy’s newest Signature Preserve, and Land Conservancy staff will manage the high-quality resources on site going forward.

“It is important to make sure we are providing future growth opportunities in conjunction with conservation,” said Alex Czayka, chief conservation officer for the Land Conservancy.

“Additionally, the land that was sold to private buyers contained an immense amount of residential infrastructure such as homes, cottages, water systems and more, and it was the highest and best use for these portions of land to remain in residential use.”

History Preserved and Conserved
Just months after completing the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic, Charles Lindbergh came to Cleveland, where fans turned out to welcome the aviation hero. But after the revelry, Lindbergh left the bustle of the city to stay with friends in Hunting Valley.

But these weren’t just any friends. When Lindbergh landed in Paris months earlier, he was welcomed by Myron Herrick, U.S. Ambassador to France. He stayed with the Ambassador and his family, even borrowing an ill-fitting suit to wear the day after his historic flight.

Herrick owned a breathtaking property in Hunting Valley now known as Shelter Hill, land that eventually became the Shiverick Property, the conserved property that the Land Conservancy has permanently protected. After Lindbergh spent a few days horseback riding with the Herrick family, he flew his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, on to Pittsburgh and beyond. He would return at least three more times to Shelter Hill, writing in a letter to his hosts that it remained one of his favorite places to visit in the world.

Western Reserve Land Conservancy: 35 years of conservation, all beginning in the Chagrin Valley
The Oscar for Best Picture went to Platoon. The Minnesota Twins beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. The Iran-Contra hearings were in full swing. And a small band of concerned citizens came together in Hunting Valley to preserve the beauty and grandeur of the Chagrin Valley.

The origin of Western Reserve Land Conservancy begins in 1987 when folks in Hunting Valley saw the need to preserve the Chagrin River corridor and focused attention on the Shiverick Preserve and other surrounding properties. The goal: to conserve land along the Chagrin River from its headwaters to Lake Erie, ensuring a cleaner river and a healthier community. They formed the Chagrin River Land Conservancy, later merging with seven other local land trusts in 2006 to create Western Reserve Land Conservancy. Since then, the Land Conservancy has permanently protected almost 70,000 acres of land, helped create and expand over 200 public parks and preserves, and distributed and planted 15,000 trees in Cleveland.