Ohio’s only National Forest, “The Wayne”, as it’s affectionately called, has approximately 240,000 acres of forest. This natural treasure preserves unique forest habitat, protects threatened and endangered species, and helps clean and filter Ohio’s air. Our only national forest boosts our economy too, as hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to the Wayne each year to explore Ohio’s wildside.
With all the Wayne has to offer, you might assume it is protected. Sadly, this is only partially true. The federal government has decided to auction off a staggering 40,000 acres, roughly one third, of Ohio’s only national forest to private oil and gas corporations. Industrializing Ohio’s largest and most valuable natural space will have devastating consequences for citizens and the environment.
Drilling requires extensive infrastructure and all those frack pads, compressor stations, and pipelines will slice through our forest, disturbing plants, animals, and people. Chemical leaks and spills pollute the surrounding land, water, and air and become more likely as the amount of drilling increases. And as the oil and gas industry profit off our public land, Ohioans lose. We lose our state’s largest recreation space- our favorite place to hike, fish, hunt, and camp. We lose some of Ohio’s most unique ecosystems and species, our rarest geological formations, and fascinating historical sites.