Historical Timeline

1916Judge Rose donates around 50 acres of land not suitable for development of the Poland Manor Plat. This land becomes the Poland Village Park.
1935Mrs. Henry Audubon (Grace) Butler donates around 150 acres of land in memory of her late husband. This was the single largest gift of land that the village would later incorporate into the forest.
1938On October 14, the Poland Village Council passes Ordinance 245 establishing Poland Municipal Forest as the first municipal forest in the state. It combines the Butler donation along with other parklands along Yellow Creek into an area of around 211 acres.
1940Jack Zedaker leads boys from the National Youth Administration in building two shelter houses (Zedaker Pavilion and the Shelter House at “Indian Spring” near Gutknecht Entrance), four footbridges, planting of trees, construction of trail markers, improvements to trails, and the creation of a parking area. 18,000 maple trees planted, 50,000 willows along Yellow Creek for erosion control.
1942Prosser Campbell becomes the first forest marshal. Responsibilities include policing the forest, removing debris from trails, care and maintenance of bridges and shelter houses, providing firewood for shelter houses, as well as other unspecified duties.
1942Three children are lost in the woods. The Poland Volunteer Fire Department is called to search for them.
1945An 89-foot well and pump in installed at the first shelter house (Zedaker Pavilion). The well was largely a gift from the Poland Garden Club.
1945Board members O. A. Alderman, Grace Butler, and James B. Thompson mark 12,000 feet of hard maple trees in the north part of the forest near the old sugar camp to be cut and sold for lumber in the first major cutting.
1949The Village of Poland acquires the old Good farm extending Poland Municipal Forest westward to South Avenue.
1950Local garden clubs raise money and finance much needed repairs to bridges, shelter houses, and the parking lot.
1950The East Ohio Gas Company completes work building roads in exchange for a right of way. One of the resulting roads is named "William McKinley Road".
1950The Forest Board adopts the first forest management plan which includes recommendations for culling, harvesting, and planting trees. It also includes a full inventory of the forest.
1952Work is completed on vehicle access roads and they are opened for use.
1953The first major culling is completed by the Stambaugh-Voorhees Lumber Company. Around 85,000 feet of poor growing stock is systematically removed from areas of the forest to allow for new growth.
1955The March 22 tornado that devastated parts of Poland and the surrounding communities also does extensive damage in the forest that would take years to clean up.
1959With great support from the community and local businesses, this year marks the most improvements to the forest in a single year since the initial development in 1940. Work included construction of over a mile of improved access roads, clearing Yellow Creek of fallen trees and stumps, erosion control, outlining and rough grading of new fire lanes through the forest, improvements to the Poland Manor and College Street entrances, and construction of a road from Mauthe Bridge to Walker Mill Road (Thatcher Trail).
1961Along with major funding from the Poland Forest Foundation, the Kennedy House and property is purchased by the village for use as Village Hall and the Poland Municipal Forest Board office.
1962A rest station is built near the Upper Shelter house and the entrance to Bluebell Trail.
1967A plaque commemorating the donation by Grace Butler in memory of her late husband, Henry A. Butler, is designed and provided by Joseph Butler.
1970The area near the Upper Shelter House is dedicated as Butler Circle and the plaque is erected commemorating the contributions of the Butler family.
1970The entrance at College Street is named the "The Osborne Mitchell Entrance" to commemorate his contributions to the creation and care of the forest over several decades.
1972Construction of Interstate 680 passes through Poland Municipal Forest during its 16 year project.
1976In celebration of the bicentennial, local ladies make the Heritage Quilt, a large patchwork quilt with sections depicting scenes memorializing Poland’s history. Several of the squares are dedicated the Poland Municipal Forest.
1981The Bremner family builds a shelter house at Butler Circle as a memorial to the late Catherine Bremner, a Poland native.
1983The village spends $25,000 to purchase land and expand the forest by 13.5 acres.
1984Mauthe Bridge is repaired by volunteers after vandals drop it into Yellow Creek.
1995John C. Zedaker II builds the gateway to the Bluebell Trail as an Eagle Scout project.
1996The Village of Poland annexes part of the Poland Municipal Forest that was in Boardman Township but owned by the village.
2005Village Council has the area surveyed and all 244.5 acres annexed to the village.
2013The Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect, arrives in the forest and begins its devastating effect on the Ash tree population.
2014The Bremner Shelter is reconstructed after being damaged by a fallen tree.
2014Jim Bissell, from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, finds two globally rare plants in the Forest. A deer enclosure would be constructed around them for protection from the deer.

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Additional Note

The December 26, 2023 Forest Board meeting has been canceled

The December 26, 2023 meeting of the Municipal Forest Board is canceled. Happy holiday!