Partnership is Key to Protecting 185 Acres near Historic Camp Tuscazoar

August 15, 2022

From Jared Saylor, Western Reserve Land Conservancy

Four sisters, two nonprofits, the Ohio Public Works Commission and the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District came together to permanently protect 185 acres of natural lands in Tuscarawas County.

Northern Tuscarawas Land Trust purchased the property with help from Western Reserve Land Conservancy from the sisters, Cheri Eckert, Christie Comanita, Carol Comanita, and Jonni Holdsworth using the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund and Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District’s Partners in Watershed Management Program. The sisters also made a generous charitable contribution to the Land Conservancy to support its land conservation work.

Located in Dover and Goshen Townships, the property is adjacent to the Ohio & Erie Canalway’s Towpath Trail and the 600-acre Camp Tuscazoar, which was originally created as a Boy Scout camp but is now owned and managed by the Camp Tuscazoar Foundation as a camp for a variety of organizations. 

Camp Tuscazoar, credit: Western Reserve Land Conservancy

This new acquisition will be leased by the Camp Tuscazoar Foundation on a long-term basis so it can be utilized as a part of Camp Tuscazoar. “We are excited about seeing this new property added to the camp’s operation,” said Sean Harris, president of NTLT. “The camp has a long history of service to the community and to youth, and this property will allow it to offer additional activities that were previously limited, such as fishing.” 

Harris continued: “We are also looking forward to building on the long efforts of the Comanita Family to improve and reclaim the strip-mined areas of this property, with the assistance of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The camp has previously worked with ODNR, and we look forward to partnering with them again.”

The property was a high priority for NTLT. Not only will it be additional acreage added to Camp Tuscazoar, it is also an opportunity to improve water quality throughout the region by providing a healthy forest buffer to the Tuscarawas River. 

“Conservation often relies on partnership and collaboration,” said Jacob Pries, conservation transactions specialist at Western Reserve Land Conservancy. “This project is a great example of what can be done to protect Ohio lands when people come together with a common goal. Permanent protection of 185 acres of land that includes almost a mile of the Tuscarawas River is a huge success. We are proud to have partnered with the Comanita family, NTLT, Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, and the Ohio Public Works Commission to complete this important project.”

Camp Tuscazoar was founded more than a century ago by Scout leaders who recognized that the beauty and history of the land offered a valuable place for boys to learn, grow and become young men. Today, Camp Tuscazoar continues to serve scouts and other youth organizations under the guidance of the Camp Tuscazoar Foundation, an Ohio non-profit corporation. Large numbers of weekend campers, hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders visit throughout the year.

“The conservation and acquisition of this property by NTLT will ensure that generations of young outdoorsmen and women have the opportunity to experience everything that the natural world has to offer, thus ushering in the next generation of conservationists,” said Pries. “Projects like this that help engage youth in the outdoors are becoming increasingly important. We are thrilled that this property will help an organization that is working to get Ohio’s youth outside.”

With the assistance from the Land Conservancy, NTLT received funding from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund and the Muskingum Watershed Conservation District; the property is encumbered with Clean Ohio Declaration of Restrictions, which limits certain types of development and construction. 

About Western Reserve Land Conservancy

The nationally accredited Western Reserve Land Conservancy — the largest local land trust in Ohio—provides the people of northern and eastern Ohio with essential natural assets through land conservation and restoration. The Land Conservancy has preserved natural areas and working farms in 28 counties across Ohio. Its urban program, Thriving Communities, works statewide to clean and green urban centers devastated by the foreclosure crisis. To date, the Land Conservancy has permanently preserved over 800 properties totaling approximately 70,000 acres; helped create more than 190 public parks and preserves; led the efforts to create 50 county land banks across Ohio; as well as planted and distributed more than 14,000 robust trees in Cleveland. For more information, please visit

About NTLT

The Northern Tuscarawas Land Trust is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization affiliated with the Camp Tuscazoar Foundation, Inc. and dedicated to preserving valuable lands in Tuscarawas County and other surrounding counties in Ohio. Its strategy involves three main themes: (1) collaboration; (2) protection; and (3) education. Its geographic focus is the Tuscarawas River watershed in the northern townships of Tuscarawas County; however, it considers projects with landowners in the counties of Coshocton, Guernsey, Harrison, Holmes and Stark. It recognizes that land protection is a shared responsibility and that there are many avenues to preservation. Accordingly, it is willing to work closely with other organizations to accomplish common purposes. For more information, please visit

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