AEP, Ohio Strike Public Recreation Land Deal

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio’s natural resources director says the state has struck a deal with American Electric Power that could lead to the state’s most significant public recreation expansion in recent memory.

Director James Zehringer tells The Associated Press that the Department of Natural Resources and AEP signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday opening negotiations on the deal.

Zehringer says the document expresses the state’s intent to purchase a major portion of a 60,000-acre parcel owned by AEP in eastern Ohio, known as ReCreation Land.

He says the land spanning portions of Guernsey, Morgan, Muskingum and Noble counties would be used for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting and fishing.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich calls the opportunity to obtain and preserve such a large, open expanse rare.