MANSFIELD -- Camp Mowana will be preserved in perpetuity for conservation, recreation and public enjoyment through cooperative efforts of the Trust for Public Land, the Richland County Park District and Lutheran Outdoor Ministries in Ohio, the three organizations announced Thursday.
Camp Mowana is an environmentally unique, 183-acre property on Fleming Falls Road, just north of Mansfield off U.S. 42.
The area will become known as Fleming Falls Preserve, owned and managed by the Richland County Park District.
Funding for the purchase, set at $2,062,500, comes from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund and a generous donation from Lutheran Outdoor Ministries in Ohio.
It's the second major land preservation effort announced in Richland County this year.
In July, the Niss Waterfall Preserve, a major community water source surrounded by lush greenery, was protected after the Western Reserve Land Conservancy acquired 287 acres, making it a permanent conservation.
By conserving that property, the preserve, with its cascading, shale-based waterfall and 2.5 miles of streams will help protect the Mohican Watershed and contribute to the health and preservation of the primary water source for residents.
Fleming Falls Preserve will protect more than four acres of high-quality wetlands, nearly two miles of headwaters, streams and more than 100 acres of forested uplands on Fleming Falls Creek.
The creek is a major tributary of the Black Fork of the Mohican River. A hiking trail offers spectacular views of Fleming Falls, a visual highlight of the property. The preserve will be opened to the public after proper inspections and repairs to infrastructure have been made.
Fleming Falls Preserve will provide the outdoors-loving public with interactive park opportunities, including wildlife watching, hiking, and outdoor education in Richland County.
Lutheran Outdoor Ministries in Ohio has owned and managed the site as a camp for more than 50 years. Prior to LOMO ownership, it was a turn-of-the-century vacation destination known as Fleming Falls. In the 1930s and 1940s, it operated as a Boy Scouts of America camp.
Mowana was a popular local camping destination and site for conferences, weddings and family retreats.
As a public-private partnership, Clean Ohio features four programs, which restore, protect and connect Ohio’s natural and urban places by preserving open space and farmland, improving outdoor recreation and cleaning up brownfields to encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities.
The Western Reserve Land Conservancy, a nonprofit organization near Cleveland, received a $2,093,500 grant from the Clean Ohio program to acquire the Niss Waterfall Preserve and to support any future developments.
The Niss Waterfall Preserve partly abuts the Richland B&O Trail, just east of Deer Park on Mansfield's southwest side.