Contact: John Culclasure, Central Appalachian States Manager
On October 2, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus member Governor Mike DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) will acquire 31,443-acres from American Electric Power (AEP) at a press conference with sportsmen’s groups in attendance.
AEP’s roughly 60,000-acre ReCreation Land property in eastern Ohio has been open to the public for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreational uses since 1962 through an arrangement with the Ohio Division of Wildlife. AEP has been trying to divest of the property for several years, and this agreement, which is largely funded by capital improvement appropriations included in the budget bill passed earlier this year, will ensure that the property remains open for public access.
Last year, the ODNR acquired more than 5,700 acres from AEP to create the Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area. On September 27, the ODNR purchased an additional 4,213 acres using hunter license generated funds. The 31,443-acre agreement announced by Governor DeWine will be completed in six phases over two years beginning in 2020. The state has an option to purchase an additional 18,500 by the summer of 2023.
The AEP acquisition project is critical for maintaining access for sportsmen and women in a state with relatively little public land and furthers Governor DeWine’s strong conservation track record. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation commends Governor DeWine for his continued commitment to conservation.
Ohio’s 1.56 million sportsmen and women contribute more than $4.3 million to the state’s economy and last year alone generated more than $60.6 million for conservation through the American System of Conservation Funding.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (11.52%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (11.52%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (64.40%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (12.57%)