North central Ohio's healthy, functioning ecosystems provide a multitude of services for a healthy, functioning human society ranging from recreation and storm water management to fish and wildlife habitat.
Richland County Park District staff, through the Natural Resources Division, are committed to conserving and enhancing the fish, wildlife, plant, and geologic resources of RCPD parks through the implementation of sound ecological and conservation principles.
Resource Management Philosophy
With more than 800 acres of land encompassing a variety of habitats from forests, to wetlands, to grasslands, or to prairies ranging from rural to urban areas, RCPD's management philosophy is based on an ecosystem approach to natural resource management with an eye towards biological diversity and habitat protection. An “ecosystem” is an interconnected community of living things, including humans, and the physical environment in which they all interact.
The ecosystem approach is a strategy for managing the land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way based on appropriate scientific methods that consider the interactions among organisms and their environment.
Humans, with their cultural diversity, are an integral component of many ecosystems. For additional information on the ecosystem approach as approved by the Convention on Biological Diversity click here.
Responding to Problems
Ecosystem health is a top priority for natural resource management staff. Management often involves responding to stress factors affecting ecosystem health. Just like the built infrastructure in our society like buildings and roads need constant care and maintenance because of prolonged use, our natural infrastructure also needs maintenance.
Invasive plants and animals, storm water, deer, and people all place enormous amounts of pressure on the natural ecosystems found in RCPD parks. For example, emerald ash borer threatens all ash trees, which may include up to 10% of our forest trees. Non-native honeysuckles, autumn olive, glossy buckthorn, purple loosestrife, and garlic mustard are just of few of the exotic plants that are replacing our native wildflowers, grasses, and sedges.
High deer populations lead to excessive browsing, which reduces or eliminates native plants. This is especially evident in our forest under stories where shrubs and wildflowers are most impacted. Unmanaged deer populations jeopardize future forest regeneration ultimately affecting wildlife such as forest ground-nesting birds or forest ground-dwelling turtles like the native Eastern Box Turtle.
Increased storm water run-off moves silt and pollutants (including sewage) into our lakes, streams, and rivers not only affecting the fish and invertebrates living there, but also increasing the cost to produce drinking water.
Aside from invasive plants and wildlife and deer, people place the most stress on RCPD parks not only through normal use (by tens of thousands of visitors) a year, but also by not ad hearing to leave no trace principals through illegal actions such as removing flora and fauna such as wildflowers or mushrooms, releasing exotic animals, dumping yard waste or trash, and creating new trails.
Help RCPD staff help you, our wildlife, and our parks by following RCPD park rules and regulations and ad hearing to the seven basic Leave No Trace principals.
- Plan ahead and prepare for your park visit -- become familiar with park rules and regulations
- Travel on durable surfaces and predesignated trails
- Dispose of waste properly -- pack out what you pack in
- Leave what you find -- do not remove flora and fauna from park property
- Minimize campfire impacts (RCPD park properties DO NOT allow campfires)
- Always respect wildlife
- Please be considerate of other visitors during your visit