CLEVELAND — The Musical Arts Association, The Trust for Public Land and the National Park Service announced recently that nearly one-third of the property of the popular Blossom Music Center, situated outside both Akron and Cleveland and entirely within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, has been conserved as an addition to the national park.
Sale of land
The Cleveland Orchestra and its governing organization, the Musical Arts Association, own and manage the 780-acre Blossom Music Center. In 2007, MAA began the process of selling upwards of 578 acres of its property to the National Park Service for conservation and to raise funds.
MAA asked the Ohio office of The Trust for Public Land, a national conservation organization, to assist with the conservation efforts, and today the partners have completed the purchase of more than 233 acres, the first of two purchases that help the Cleveland Orchestra and also add important forest and waterway resources to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Conservation of this and the next phase of Blossom Music Center properties will connect more than 5,000 acres of forest ecosystems in the CVNP.
“Protecting this vital landscape is a big benefit to the Park,” said Stan Austin, superintendent of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. “The acquired lands now become a part of the largest forested block in the Park. This land is extremely valuable because it helps sustain critical woodland species and protects several watersheds.”
The $3,960,780 purchase of the 233 acres was funded entirely by a fiscal year 2010 appropriation from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. Since its inception, the project has been supported by members of Congress, including U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and former U.S. Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, and U.S. Reps. Betty Sutton, Steve LaTourette and Tim Ryan.
The LWCF uses revenues generated from offshore oil and gas drilling leases, rather than taxpayer dollars, to acquire critical new lands. The fate of conserving the remaining Blossom land hangs in the balance of the federal budget debate that continues to unfold in Washington. President Obama’s budget for the current fiscal year (2011) included LWCF funding to complete the Blossom purchase, but that budget is yet to be resolved as the House and Senate continue negotiations.