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Month: November 2023

MWCD Makes Historic Economic Impact Across the Region

Study shows nearly $1 Billion from Multi-year Capital Improvement Plan

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) announced a plan to address major upgrades and deferred maintenance needs at recreational facilities and marinas in 2014. The plan, which was enabled by revenues from Utica shale leases, has bolstered the region’s economy by nearly $1 billion through the MWCD’s investment of $221.9 million. It has also supported 2,606 jobs, paying out nearly $300 million in wages and benefits since its inception nine years ago.

The economic benefits were calculated as part of a comprehensive analysis of the benefits of MWCD’s oil and gas revenue done by Cleveland State University and released publicly today.

“MWCD is excited to work with Cleveland State University to show the historic levels of investments made from taking the bold step to allow oil and gas development on our lands,” said Craig Butler, MWCD Executive Director. “Through careful planning, analysis, and through a comprehensive lease and program, MWCD is leading the way and showing how we can have nearly $1 billion of economic impact, all while offering the best camping, fishing and overall recreation opportunities in Ohio.  I am proud of decision by the Board of Directors and staff made in 2011 and very proud that we have been able to invest and support the region through these investments.”

As the Cleveland State analysis underscores, increases in oil and gas revenues associated with Utica Shale development have generated revenue for MWCD that has enabled it to bring economic benefits to the conservancy district’s 18-county service area, including job creation, increased state and local tax revenue, and growth in related industries such as transportation and infrastructure. This development has also enabled MWCD to greatly expand its services so that it now provides some of the best recreational opportunities anywhere in Ohio. It has, for example, upgraded cabins, campgrounds, docks, playgrounds, picnic shelters, shower houses, trails, and wastewater utilities infrastructure to a level of quality rarely found in public parks and campgrounds anywhere in the country.

The Cleveland State analysis includes MWCD’s investments through 2022 but does not include nearly $15M in project funding in 2023, and $30M budgeted for 2024. In addition, MWCD leased more than 7,300 acres in Harrison County in 2022. Spending resulting from this lease agreement is not reflected in this study either, although these revenues will catalyze further economic impact through capital improvements and ongoing operations for many years to come.  With the addition of these additional significant investments, the economic benefits of MWCD’s oil and gas revenue are even greater.

To review the Economic Impact Study, visit

MWCD Collects 25,000 Pounds at Tire Amnesty Day

 MWCD Employees, Matt Thomas and Paige Hay help load tires into the shipping truck.

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) conservation team and park staff at Pleasant Hill Lake Park held the first annual Tire Amnesty Day on October 21, 2023. This event was created as a way to help residents properly dispose of their scrap tires for free. This event is also in response to concerns of illegally dumped tires ending up in MWCD lakes or along roadways.

Braydon West tosses a tire into the shipping truck.

MWCD chose to only accept car and light passenger tires to help maximize the capacity of tires that could be accepted from the public. In total, 25,000 pounds (about the weight of a school bus) of scrap tires were collected at this successful one-day event!

Tires are stacked in a pattern to optimize space.   Braydon West and Matt Thomas loading tires.

The scrap tires collected during the event, were transported by Willig Tire Recycling LLC in Galion, Ohio to their state-of-the-art facility to be reused and recycled. The scrap tires get a second life as they transform into new products such as rubber mulch, curbs, ballistic rubber, acoustic tiles, gym mats, and tire derived fuel (TDF) to generate heat and electricity. The recycling center’s mission, along with MWCD, is to provide solutions for a more sustainable future. By creating this partnership, MWCD can continue to promote healthier and more environmentally responsible events that have positive impacts on the communities within the district. MWCD’s Conservation Department will be hosting other tire amnesty events in 2024.

New Trail Segment Expansion Unites Organizations

The Buckeye Trail Association (BTA), Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD), Student Conservation Association (SCA), and American Conservation Experience (ACE) have joined forces to create a new off-road trail segment of the Buckeye Trail. The new segment is a part of the Trails Corridor Project that is a collaboration between the BTA and MWCD that is working to expand the off-road segments of the Buckeye Trail in MWCD’s footprint.

The Buckeye Trail is a 1,400+ mile hiking trail linking the four corners of Ohio marked by 2″ x 6″ blue blazes. The trail follows wooded footpaths, abandoned railroad corridors, historic canal towpaths, rivers, lake shores, and country roads, within both rural and urban settings. Sections are located within the footprint of the MWCD, including the Beall Farm, regional headquarters for the trail located at Tappan Lake Park.

The SCA crew from Cleveland, Ohio and ACE crew from Fletcher, North Carolina worked to create a new natural surface trail between the Beall Farmstead and Area 5 Campground within Tappan Lake Park located near Deersville, Ohio.


Student Conservation Association and MWCD
Staff working on the new trail segment
American Conservation Experience and MWCD
staff working on the new trail segment

The first trail segment recently developed, covers 1.2 miles and the second segment, expected to be complete in the coming year, will result in a total length of 2 miles. Once complete, the new trail segment will be incorporated into the Buckeye Trail, providing a scenic path for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to explore the natural beauty of the area. By moving the trail off Moravian Trail Road and through Tappan Lake Park, it will provide a safer experience for trail users. Another part of this new reroute of the Buckeye Trail through the park will incorporate the nearby Turkey Ridge Trail which was originally built by BTA Volunteers to connect the BTA Beall Farmstead to the major amenities at Tappan Lake Park.

“We are thrilled to be part of this collective effort to expand the Buckeye Trail. It showcases the power of partnerships in advancing environmental conservation while enriching the outdoor experience for all,” said Craig Butler, MWCD Executive Director.

The BTA is comprised of a large, strong body of volunteers who maintain and promote the trail. For more information about the Buckeye Trail visit For more information about MWCD and trail maps, visit


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