MANSFIELD -- A public forum on the pending transfer and development of Camp Mowana on Fleming Falls Road has been set for Tuesday, April 30 at 6 p.m. at the Main Mansfield/Richland County Public Library, 43 W. Third St., Mansfield.
The meeting is being jointly conducted by the Richland County Park District (RCPD) and Trust for Public Land (TPL) to update the public about the Mowana transfer, which is set for October. The agencies are soliciting suggestions for RCPD’s plans to transform the camp into a public park, and they also are seeking appropriate partnerships in that effort.
The Lutheran Outdoor Ministries in Ohio (LOMO) has owned and managed the site as a camp for over 50 years. Prior to LOMO ownership, it was a turn-of-the-century vacation destination known as Fleming Falls. In the 1930s and 1940’s it operated as a Boy Scouts of America camp.
Mowana was a popular local camping destination and site for conferences, weddings, or family retreats.
Forum attendees will be welcome to share Mowana stories and recollections. LOMO, however, decided to divest itself of the camp and through TPL a transfer is being arranged to RCPD. LOMO required that the Mowana property be transferred to an appropriate outdoors agency to preserve the beauty and historic natural areas surrounding the property’s scenic Fleming Falls. Clean Ohio Funds were leveraged for the purchase.
The park district plans to provide public access to the natural areas and educational programs in conjunction with the offerings at Gorman Nature Center in Mansfield.
Two potential county-level projects – one possibly involving the acquisition of Camp Mowana – could add 470 acres of conserved public land to Richland County.