Western Reserve Land Conservancy, the largest local land trust in Ohio, and Metroparks Toledo are partnering to conserve the 226-acre Spuyten Duyval golf course property in Sylvania Township. Located adjacent to the 610-acre Secor Metropark, the acquisition will expand the park to make it the third largest Metropark in Lucas County at 836 acres, behind only Oak Openings Preserve and Howard Marsh.
“This collaborative conservation project will have a vast impact on natural habitat, water quality and public recreation opportunities,” said Joe Leslie, vice president of real estate at the Land Conservancy.” We are grateful for our visionary partners at Spuyten Duyval and at Metroparks Toledo who helped bring this project to fruition.”
The project presents an opportunity for a vastly expanded Secor Metropark. The Metroparks will restore over 200 acres of Oak Openings prairie, plant 50,000 trees and restore 1,200 linear feet of stream along Prairie Ditch, which drains into Tenmile Creek, a currently impaired stream as designated by the Ohio EPA. Three additional miles of trails will provide access to the property for hiking, running and wildlife watching.
“This is a rare opportunity to add significant acreage to an existing Metropark in one of the most ecologically important areas in the entire state, the Oak Openings Region,” said Dave Zenk, executive director of Metroparks Toledo. “Thanks to the partnership with Western Reserve Land Conservancy and a creative funding model, we are bringing millions of dollars to our region for conservation.”
The Oak Openings is a globally significant ecoregion of Ohio which supports five plant communities of global significance and is a region in which nearly a third of Ohio’s endangered plant species are found. Protecting the land and restoring globally significant habitat is expected to have important water quality benefits for the Ottawa River/Ten Mile Creek watershed draining into Lake Erie and is important for meeting recommendations outlined by the U.S. EPA designated Maumee River Area of Concern designated under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
Further natural resource importance is highlighted by the fact that the property falls within the U.S. EPA Maumee Area of Concern – one of 43 areas in the Great Lakes basin that has been identified as experiencing significant environmental degradation— and as such has been awarded a $510,000 grant from the U.S. EPA as well as a $2.9 million Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program grant from the Ohio EPA which will fund both the purchase of the property and restoration efforts.
This project was made possible by Susan Shaneck, owner of the Spuyten Duyval Golf Course and her daughter Sarai Shaneck, its president and general manager.
“While we are sad to close our family business of almost 50 years, we are thrilled that this beautiful land will be preserved in perpetuity and will be used for the greater good of the wildlife that inhabits it and will ultimately help with the preservation of Lake Erie,” said Sarai Shaneck. “My father, Gary Shaneck, who started this company, was at heart a true outdoorsman. He loved this land and would have seen this as a fitting ending for the golf course as he truly believed in land conservation and the preservation of wild spaces. My mother, Susan Shaneck, and I are confident that the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and their partner in this acquisition, the Metroparks, have a plan that will achieve this.”
Constructed in 1929, the Spuyten Duyval Golf Course is one of the oldest golf courses in the Toledo area. It is currently the home course for Evergreen High School golf.
The Land Conservancy is assisting Metroparks in funding and preserving the Property, while ownership and stewardship will be left to the Metroparks.