NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Growing Ohio Wilderness

December 14, 1999

Ohio's wilderness areas grew faster than its developed areas from 1949 to 1992, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. The data suggest that concerns about the loss of wilderness areas may be largely unfounded, say analysts.

The state's developed areas (which include urban areas, defense and industrial areas, farmsteads, and rural transportation areas) grew from 2,021,000 acres in 1949 to 3,202,000 acres in 1992, an increase of 58 percent.

  • However, the state's wilderness areas (which include forest land, rural parks and wildlife areas) increased from 4,863,000 acres to 7,997,000 acres in the same period, an increase of 64 percent.
  • Wilderness areas grew from just 19 percent of Ohio's land in 1949 to 31 percent in 1992.
  • Developed areas, in contrast, grew from 8 percent of Ohio's land in 1949 to 12 percent in 1992.

Private ownership is the primary reason for the increase in wilderness acreage. More than 332,000 private land-owners account for 94 percent of Ohio forested or re-forested land.

Source: "Tree Sprawl: Ohio Wilderness Grew Faster Than Development, 1949-1992," Policy Note, November 1999, Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, 4100 North High Street, Suite 200, Columbus, Ohio 43214, (614) 262-1593.


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