CHESTERLAND, Ohio — A couple’s decision to donate an 80-acre conservation easement in Ashtabula County will permanently protect several thousand feet of tributaries to the Ashtabula River.
Jeff and Cindy Suszynski, who own the property in Plymouth Township, donated the conservation easement to Western Reserve Land Conservancy, a nonprofit organization serving 14 counties in northern Ohio.
A conservation easement is a legal document that restricts future development of the property while allowing the donor to retain ownership.
This is the land conservancy’s first conservation easement in the Ashtabula River watershed.
The protected property, which is located near the northwest corner of Morgan and Brown roads, is almost entirely forested. The Suszynskis, who live in Geauga County, retained the right to build a cabin and lake on the land.
“It has always been my dream to own and manage a piece of property for wildlife,” said Jeff Suszynski, who is an avid outdoorsman. “I wanted to preserve this land so it can never be developed, and hopefully my kids will be able to enjoy it in its natural state.
Nearly 600 acres of Erie County farmland have been permanently preserved by conservation easements granted by the Wallrabenstein family to Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
John and Shirley Wallrabenstein preserved their 415-acre farm in Oxford Township, while John’s mother, Marge, preserved her 150-acre farm in Milan Township. The fourth-generation farms have been in the family since the 1880s and are some of the most productive in the region, according to Andy McDowell, the Land Conservancy’s western field director.
The farms, which are south of Sandusky, are grain operations that include popcorn. Both contain very fertile soil with nearly all soil types classified as prime agricultural soils. Both have small woodlots.
To date, the land conservancy has preserved 421 properties and 28,721 acres. It is headquartered in Chesterland and has field offices in Painesville, Akron, Medina, Oberlin and Cleveland.