ODNR Division of Wildlife to Acquire
Wingfoot Lake in Portage County
Acquisition will increase public fishing, outdoor recreation opportunities
MOGADORE, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife is entering into an agreement with The Trust for Public Land (TPL) to acquire 690 acres from The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The Portage County property is locally known as Wingfoot Lake Park. In recognition of the name’s historical significance, the ODNR Division of Wildlife will identify the property as the Wingfoot Lake Wildlife Area.
"Wingfoot Lake will be a welcome addition to public fishing opportunities in northeast Ohio,” said ODNR Director Sean Logan. “Anglers will experience great bass and bluegill fishing from the shoreline or on the water thanks to the planned first class boat launch.”
The ODNR Division of Wildlife has initiated a two-phased purchase that will begin immediately. The 540-acre lake and associated properties are expected to be open to the public by late spring or early summer of 2010.
A total of 147.5-acres will be purchased in the first phase using the Wildlife Fund (monies derived from the sales of hunting and fishing licenses in Ohio). The remaining 543-acres will be purchased in the second phase using federal aid monies obtained through a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant. The total purchase price is $3.2 million.
“Goodyear is pleased to finalize the sale of the Wingfoot Lake Park property to The Trust for Public Land,” said Stuart Rickman, Goodyear’s director of Headquarters Facilities and Services. “Our goal was to find a new owner whose interest would be to protect the open space – which fits well with their goal to conserve land and water for people to enjoy.”
The Division of Wildlife has partnered with TPL, which is the intermediary for the purchase. TPL will lease 543 acres of the property to the Division for one dollar until the second phase of the acquisition is complete. This will allow the area to be managed, controlled and developed for wildlife-related public recreation.
“The Division of Wildlife will seek to partner with other public agencies that may have an interest in operating and maintaining the park parcel,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Dave Graham. “If this is not possible, the park portion will be converted into a bird watching area, a first class boat launch facility and a shoreline fishing access area. The pond will be managed for youth fishing opportunities and the remainder of the property will be managed for hunting, trapping, fishing, boating, wildlife observation and outdoor education.”
The Division of Wildlife greatly appreciates the cooperation and good intentions of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and TPL to make this acquisition possible. TPL has been instrumental in assisting the Division with the transfer and in financing the purchase with a $1.8 million dollar loan from its Ohio Land Protection fund.
“TPL has been instrumental in assisting the Division with the transfer and in serving as a financial mechanism for the purchase. The property will be a great addition to the wildlife-related recreation resources available to the heavily populated northeast Ohio region,” said Chief Graham
Wingfoot Lake and associated properties were purchased by The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in the early 20th century. The park and lake were heavily used by Goodyear employees, retirees, dependents and guests for many decades. The park was closed for all use in 2006.
“We are thrilled to partner with Ohio and Goodyear to conserve the Wingfoot Lake properties,” said Bill Carroll, State Director for TPL in Ohio. “Wingfoot Lake is an historic Ohio gem, and making it permanently available to the public is a gift for wildlife and outdoor recreation enthusiasts.”
The Trust for Public Land is a national, nonprofit, land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. TPL has acquired over 10,000 “parks for people acres” in Ohio. Visit TPL online at tpl.org/ohio.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.