While many Scioto County residents are fuming over the state’s decision to close the golf course at Shawnee Lodge, a Lawrence County business leader is encouraging residents to make their wishes about the future of Wayne National Forest known to the new Forest Supervisor, Carrie Gilbert.
Jill McCleese, owner of Elkins Creek Horse Camp in Pedro, says that it’s important to make sure the people in charge of managing the forest — which covers over a quarter of a million acres in Southeast Ohio including Lawrence, Scioto, Jackson, and Gallia Counties — understand the recreational and tourism needs of the area.
McCleese says that she’s met with Gilbert and while Gilbert is an expert on the science of forestry, she admits that tourism and recreational needs are not her areas of expertise.
McCleese says the forest has a huge potential to bring visitors to Lawrence County. “We have a big opportunity to make an impact and recreation and tourism for the health of our county. We have this beautiful asset.” She said the horse trails in the area are among the most beautiful in the United States. “I wanna see bed and breakfasts and downtown coffee shops.”
Unfortunately, she says, the public hasn’t shown much interest in offering their input. An updated plan for the forest has been posted online and folks at the Forest Service have been surprised by how few people have chosen to comment.
She encouraged residents to look at the plan and make sure officials know how important recreational opportunities are to local communities. You have until March 6 to submit comments.
McCleese also suggested people come to a stakeholders’ meeting at the Riffe Rotunda at the Ohio University Southern Campus in Ironton on February 25. The meeting will take place from 5:30 to 8 pm
keywords: Wayne National Forest Lawrence County