Western Reserve Land Conservancy has secured 28 acres of forested habitat in Ashtabula County, adjacent to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s (CMNH) 90-acre Kingsville Swamp. The organizations worked together in the Land Conservancy’s acquisition of the property — named the Kingsville Swamp Extension — located in North Kingsville. CMNH will secure funding to take ownership of property within two years, extending Kingsville Swamp’s pristine natural habitat to nearly 130 acres.
“It’s a huge win any time you can improve and expand a high-quality natural resource such as Kingsville Swamp,” said Alex Czayka, senior vice president for conservation transactions at Western Reserve Land Conservancy. “The natural habitat we secured could have been timbered or otherwise altered in a way that would not only detract from its own vitality, but also adversely impact the Kingsville Swamp. We are glad to work with our partners at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on a solution that is beneficial for all.”
The Land Conservancy purchased the 28-acre property at auction on September 25. The organization secured the property, 5.5 acres of which is pristine swamp forest habitat, for up to two years while CMNH secures funding to take ownership of this vital addition to Kingsville Swamp, a 90-acre hemlock swamp rich with lush ferns, and rare and unique flora and fauna including the only Ashtabula County occurrence of the Ohio-threatened Walter’s St. John’s-wort (Triadenum walteri).
“The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has made repeated attempts to purchase the parcel since initiating a campaign to protect the swamp in 2003,” said Museum Director of Natural Areas Jim Bissell. “I am grateful Western Reserve Land Conservancy stepped up to purchase the property.”
Securing the 28-acre Kingsville Swamp Extension not only protects the vitality of the swamp but ensures subsurface flow of ground water to dozens of cold-water springs at the Museum’s North Kingsville Sand Barrens, one mile north of Kingsville Swamp. Ultimately, the organizations hope to work together to permanently preserve this valued natural habitat for nearby communities.
North Kingsville neighbors attended the auction and expressed their gratitude towards the Land Conservancy and CMNH for securing and protecting this property. Danny and Tracey Cline have lived on Richwood Drive, adjacent to Kingsville Swamp Extension, for more than 20 years.
“We are elated and relieved that the Land Conservancy was able to purchase this beautiful property,” said Tracey Cline, North Kingsville resident. “For 20 years we have watched and cherished the plants, trees and wildlife that grace this natural property. It feels like our woods have been saved.”