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MWCD Master Plan Announced

October 20, 2015
By Larry Claypool - OV Times Editor , Ohio Valley Outdoors

MINERAL CITY, OH - There are several reasons people have heard of the reservoirs, dams and property that are contained within the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD). The District is a viable component in Ohio that provides flood reduction, conservation and recreation for a 20 percent chunk of the state of Ohio.

That chunk of the Muskingum system covers 18 counties and 8,000 square miles of Ohio. It's the largest wholly contained watershed in the state. One of the key functions of the watershed is surely flood reduction and protection for many Ohioans, but along with that comes a conservation commitment, and natural affiliated benefits that include camping, fishing, hunting, hiking and boating on the MWCD public lands and waterways.

That definitely covers a wide spectrum of interest from many outdoors people, from Ohio and beyond.

Article Photos

Atwood Lake, one of the key bodies of water in the MWCD, is known as one of Ohio's top sailing and pleasure boating lakes. Photo by Larry Claypool

The MWCD owns property behind 14 of the dams, that include 10 permanent lakes. Many of the lakes that are well known for fishing, boating, camping, hunting and more.

A lot of positive developments have been taking place the last few years within the MWCD. Last month the brass at MWCD decided it was time to get the word out about those developments and upcoming plans for the District. They hosted a three-day media event to help promote the MWCD. Three of their locations were featured; Pleasant Hill Lake Park (Ashland County), Atwood Lake (Carroll County) and Seneca Lake Park (Noble and Guernsey counties). I attended the Atwood Lake event.

MWCD Executive Director John Hoopingarner hosted all three events, with the assistance of Barbara Bennett (Director of Administrative Services) and Adria Bergeron (Recreation Marketing Coordinator). Hoopingarner, with 26 years of experience at the MWCD, offered a slide show presentation on the District's history, development, goals and plans for the future. The future looks bright in the region, and the MWCD, thanks to recent revenue generated from the oil and gas industry.

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For additional information about the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District visit them online at:

"It's been a game changer for us, the mineral leases we've been able to sign the past four years," said Hoopingarner.

The gas and oil royalties have pumped several millions of dollars into MWCD's coffers. Hoopingarner said the board of directors have committed more than $170 million to a Master Plan to develop and improve the conservancy district.

Park capital improvements will also be made at each of the five lake parks and marinas operated by the District. Those are: Atwood Lake, Seneca Lake, Piedmont Lake, Tappan Lake and Charles Mills Lake.

Atwood will get much of the capital improvement attention in the next several years. There currently is new construction of a $1.6 million welcome center taking place at the Carroll County facility. A huge multi-use recreational center is planned, along with a new restroom/shower building, elaborate cabins, seven miles of trails, improved campgrounds, spray (water) grounds and playgrounds.

Tappan will also get a new deluxe welcome center, zip line and beanstalk ropes course.

Hoopingarner said there's been a surprising interest in walking and hiking trails at Atwood. "That was number one in amenities that people asked for in our recent survey," said Hoopingarner.

For additional information about the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District visit them online at:



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