ODNR in Discussions with AEP for Potential Expansion of Outdoor Recreation Opportunities
Memorandum of understanding kicks off negotiations for the state to purchase a major portion of AEP ReCreation Land property in eastern Ohio
COLUMBUS, OH – Taking an important first step toward what could become the most significant expansion of public recreation opportunities in the state’s recent history, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has signed a memorandum of understanding with American Electric Power (AEP) by which the parties will negotiate for the state to purchase a major portion of AEP’s 60,000-acre ReCreation Land property in eastern Ohio.
ODNR Director James Zehringer and AEP Vice President Jim Henry today announced ODNR’s interest in purchasing a large swath of AEP ReCreation Land to be used by the state for a wide range of outdoor recreational activities, including hunting and fishing.
Praising the agreement, Governor John R. Kasich said, “An opportunity to acquire and protect such a large, open expanse of land for public recreation is rare. Ohioans and out-of-state visitors who are drawn to our great state parks, forests, nature preserves and wildlife areas will potentially have even greater opportunities to explore and enjoy the outdoors.”
Director Zehringer emphasized that acquisitions would likely be made in separate parcels over a number of years, and much work remains to be done before the first purchase is negotiated and complete.
“ODNR will now work with AEP to finalize titling and obtain the necessary appraisals, but today’s agreement is a positive step toward preserving this invaluable recreational resource,” Zehringer said. “Our department and AEP have worked in a longstanding partnership to promote public access to AEP ReCreation Land, now we continue as partners to ensure these unmatched outdoor recreation opportunities are preserved for generations of Ohioans to come.”
AEP ReCreation Land spans a total of 60,000 acres in Guernsey, Morgan, Muskingum and Noble counties, which is all company-owned property that in the past had been surface mined for coal. In recent years, AEP reclaimed the land and opened it to public access for camping and other outdoor recreation.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov
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