Expanding a Beloved Community Park

Everyone who lives in Bowling Green, Ohio has a park within 1.5 miles of their home. It’s a point of pride for the city, especially for the Parks and Recreation Department, which has worked diligently for many years to create open spaces that appeal to the many recreational interests of the community.

Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve is one of those parks. Pieced together over time through five separate land acquisitions, the preserve offers more than 100 acres of meadows, forests, woods and wetlands. Miles of trails loop the property, an observation center gives visitors an up-close look at native wildlife, and a fulltime staff of naturalists host educational programs year-round.

Last year, Black Swamp Conservancy entered into a purchase agreement to acquire 20-acre property containing woods and grasslands that share a boundary with the existing park. It is a critical addition to Wintergarden Woods – the last opportunity to expand the park.

“We had been in discussions with the sellers of this property for several years,” remarked The Conservancy’s executive director, Rob Krain. “We are really glad that they chose to work with us – this was a great opportunity to expand upon a beloved community resource.”

A grant from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund made the purchase possible, with matching funds provided by the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Foundation. The parks will own and manage the property for public use. The city also entered into a conservation agreement with Black Swamp Conservancy, ensuring that the entirety of Wintergarden / St. John’s Nature Preserve will remain a public green space forever.