Park District of Ottawa County acquires undeveloped Catawba land parcel, protecting it from development

Mar 19, 2024 | Ottawa Outdoors | 0 comments

From left are Jack Madison, Board of Park Commissioners, Park District of Ottawa County; Trish McCartney, Board of Park Commissioners, Park District of Ottawa County; Allegra Pitera, daughter of the late Bob Johnson for which the property’s pond is named; Jannah Wilson, executive director of the Park District of Ottawa County; Mike Shadoan, Board of Park Commissioners, Park District of Ottawa County; and Friends of Ottawa County Parks members Heidi Cline and Sherri Lippus.

A pond within the Islander Woods and Trailhead property is named after longtime Catawba Island lover Bob Johnson, who died in 2016. His daughter, Allegra Pitera, arranged for the family land to become public land for all to enjoy.

The Park District of Ottawa County recently completed the acquisition of a 7.6 parcel of land on Catawba Island Township, to be named “Islander Woods and Trailhead.” Acquired on March 8, the property is an undeveloped wooded tract with a scenic pond that has been owned by the same family for more than 50 years. The pond will be named, “Bob’s Pond,” in memory of the late Bob Johnson who loved the pond, woods, apple trees and Catawba Island. The Park District granted the family naming rights to the pond for the contributions they made to the acquisition project.

The Park District of Ottawa County is grateful to all those who helped save this piece of wooded land from development for all to enjoy, said Executive Director Jannah Wilson.

“We are grateful to the Clean Ohio Fund for providing a portion of the funding needed to purchase this woodland property. We look forward to building a park area that will meet the recreational needs of the community while also providing much needed coastal habitat for migratory bird species, monarch butterflies, and a wide diversity of other native plants and animals,” said Executive Director Jannah Wilson.

The property, which is currently closed to public access, with all Park District Rules and Regulations in place, was purchased by the Park District of Ottawa County with monies received from the Clean Ohio Fund and local matching funds. A master plan will be completed for the property. Upon completion of a master plan, the Islander Woods and Trailhead property will undergo the first phase of improvements including habitat restoration, trails, signage and the installation of a small parking area, Wilson said. Additional grant dollars from the Clean Ohio Fund have been received for habitat restoration.

The Park District will strive to open Islander Woods and Trailhead to the public in 2025.

With a mission to connect, enhance and protect the natural, scenic, environmental and cultural resources of Ottawa County for the enjoyment of residents and visitors, the Park District of Ottawa County (PDOC) looks forward to being an active part of the Catawba Island Township community working together to protect greenspace and develop compatible outdoor recreation opportunities. Visit ottawacountyparksoh.org to learn more.

From left are Jack Madison, Board of Park Commissioners, Park District of Ottawa County; Jannah Wilson, executive director of the Park District of Ottawa County; and Mike Shadoan, Board of Park Commissioners, Park District of Ottawa County.

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