Scio Township’s Land Preservation Program recently purchased a conservation easement on a 9.5 acre property including a pedestrian access easement that connects two township-owned properties to be developed into a trail network.
The property is comprised entirely of high quality lowland woods, part of a large wooded complex that has been a focus for many years, through which a branch of Honey Creek flows. To the west is a township nature preserve of 120 acres and to the east a long, narrow strip of township-owned land. Plans are to install trails but for now it’s not publicly accessible.
Sheldon Smith purchased this property in order to keep it from being developed. His grandparents’ farm was located adjacent to it, and he fondly remembers wandering the woods and swamps as a kid. Sheldon is thrilled to have the property permanently protected by the conservation easement which is part of over 520 acres of contiguous protected land in nature preserve and conservation easements in this western part of Scio Township (and a bit in neighboring Lima Township).
Conservation easements are permanent deed restrictions on the use of a property. Purchasing easements costs less than buying the property, and keeps the property on the tax rolls and contributing to the local economy.
Scio Township’s land preservation program is funded by a dedicated millage which voters passed initially in 2004 and renewed in 2012, both by large margins. The Township has attracted over $8 million of matching funds from other sources, a rate of over $1.5 to $1 of its own. With this project the Township program has been involved in protecting 1,274 acres, with more projects set to close in the coming months.