Agreement Will Preserve Natural Area While Enhancing Services for People With Disabilities

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Courageous Acres will enhance summer camp experiences for children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities, while Metroparks Toledo will restore surrounding natural areas in the rare Oak Openings Region thanks to an agreement between the two organizations.

Camp renovations, joint programming and additional public parkland are some of the benefits of the agreement.

Metroparks recently purchased about 64 acres of land from Courageous Community Services for $464,675, and the Clean Ohio Fund will reimburse all costs associated with the purchase and some of the restoration work.

The land has “exceptionally high quality” Oak Openings” habitat, said Tim Schetter, Ph.D., director of natural resources for the park system. The property harbors populations of at least 15 plant species listed as endangered, threatened or potentially threatened in Ohio.

“Acquisition of this property by Metroparks will ensure that the property’s remarkable natural features will be stewarded for future generations to enjoy,” Dr. Schetter said, adding that the Clean Ohio award also will cover the cost to restore the first 8 acres.

Courageous Community retained about 20 acres, where it has operated summer camps since the land was donated 57 years ago. It was previously known as Camp Courageous. About 300 people of all ages attend the camps over 14 weeks each year.

"Courageous Community Services is extremely fortunate to be partnering with such a tremendous community partner in Metroparks Toledo,” said Jeff Sabin, president of the board. “Metroparks focus on providing best in class facilities, parks and programming aligns perfectly with CCS’ commitment to provide comprehensive and inclusive outdoor recreation to individuals with developmental disabilities.

“This collaboration will greatly expand the diversity of options available to the entire CCS community, not only when camping at Courageous Acres, but anytime throughout the year. Having Metroparks as a new neighbor is certainly going to make this even better for generations to come."

Metroparks will partner with Courageous Community to provide nature‐based programs as part of the summer camp experience. Eventually, the property will connect to the existing Oak Openings Preserve trail system, providing park visitors additional hiking opportunities.