COLUMBUS - The State Controlling Board this week approved an historic land purchase that will dramatically expand outdoor opportunities and preserve them for generations to come.
The purchase of approximately 16,300 acres in Guernsey, Morgan, Muskingum, and Noble counties will become part of the Appalachian Hills Wildlife Area.
The acquisition completes the historic addition of more than 50,000 acres of public land for conservation and outdoor recreation.
The board’s action is being applauded by area leaders.
“This is a landmark purchase for all Ohioans who enjoy outdoor recreation and for generations of Ohioans to come,” said State Representative Adam Holmes (R-Zanesville). “This is truly a once-in-a-generation project that will have a positive and profound benefit for our part of the state.”
State Representative Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) said the board’s approval is the final step in a long process that will benefit the region for decades to come.
“This not only expands recreational opportunities for our area, but it will expand tourism opportunities as well,” Stewart said.
Funding for the $25 million purchase was included in the state budget lawmakers approved earlier this year.
The acquisition adjoins the existing Appalachian Hills Wildlife Area and the Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area. Overall, the land will provide 24 continuous miles of the Buckeye Trail traversing the area, 350 lakes and ponds, and six campgrounds. This area has long been a popular destination for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking and other activities.