Park District offers November events

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT The Wood County Park District is offering a variety of programming during November including events tied to Native American Heritage Month. Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Certification Program Tuesday, November 6; 7:00 – 9:00 pm Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green This informational session will explain the details of this excellent natural resources education program. Beginning in April, this certification program is coupled with community-based volunteer service. Sessions include many topics such as birds, interpretation, ecology, native plants, mammals, insects, geology, and more! Certification co-sponsored by OSU Extension.Register at, or call (419) 353-1897   Turkey Tomfoolery Thursday, November 8, 6:00 – 7:30 pm Otsego Park Thompson Stone Hall 20000 W. River Road, Bowling Green Wild turkeys are being seen much more frequently here in Wood County. Bring the kids out to learn about one of the largest birds in our parks, we will finish the evening with some games and fun activities. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897   EcoLit Book Group Meeting Thursday, November 8, 7:00 – 9:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve Friends’ Green Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg For this meeting, please read Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich. Group meets once a month. Register for any or all. Discussion leader: Cheryl Lachowski, Senior Lecturer, BGSU English Dept. and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN). Register at, or call (419) 353-1897   Wild Skills: Shelter-Skelter Saturday, November 10; 10:00 – 11:30 am W.W. Knight Nature Preserve 25930 White Road, Perrysburg Be prepared for when your adventure turns south. Having a shelter to get out of the elements can be a life saver! Get hands on and learn to build one using only the nature around you. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897   The Native American Experience Tuesday, November 13; 7:00 – 8:00 pm Otsego Park: Thompson Stone Hall 20000 W. River Road, Bowling Green What was life like for Native Americans as they coped with pressure from European settlers? Join guest speaker Taylor Moyer, Toledo School of the Arts humanities teacher and living historian, as he describes the interaction between the two cultures from a Native American perspective. Details of clothing, tools and other artifacts will be woven into the narrative.Register at, or call (419) 353-1897   Fly tying by Wildwood Anglers Thursday, November 15, 6:00 – 7:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve Friends’ Green Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Join Brad Dunkle, local fly fishing guide and owner of Wildwood Anglers, for a small group intro to fly tying. All material and tools provided. Registration required, no walk–ins. Cost: $12, FWCP $8. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897   Wild Skills: Bow-drill Workshop Friday, November 16; 6:00 – 8:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve 25930 White Road, Perrysburg Build and test out your own bow-drill fire-starting kit. Learn about the evolution of fire-starting, which materials work best, and how to identify the best wood for the job. Wood provided. Bring your own knife capable of substantial wood carving. $10/$5 FWCP. Leader: Craig Spicer Emerge: Cap 20. Must be 13 years of age or older (minors must have release of liability sign by adult before attending). Carving and knife skills will not be covered in depth – please become familiar and practice before attending….

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Historic farm to be jammin’ and cookin’ again soon

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Carter Historic Farm will soon be cookin’ again. The historic farm, which is part of the Wood County Park District, is making its transition to being a working farm. That covers everything from the crops grown in the fields to the foods cooked up in the kitchen. “We’re going from a petting zoo to an actual working farm,” Jeff Baney, assistant director of the Wood County Park District said Tuesday during a meeting of the park board. “Nothing out there is static,” Baney said. Which means equipment like the antique tractors actually have to work the fields. The chickens, goats and farm cats serve a purpose. It’s hoped they will be joined by sheep, cattle and eventually horses. Visitors to the farm, on Carter Road north of Bowling Green, will be able to experience a day in the life of a depression era farm. “At the end of the day, the biggest thing a farm did was put food on the table,” Baney said. But there’s a glitch in that plan. The circa 1930 oven in the farmhouse kitchen has outlived its usefulness. The oven overheats, refuses to shut off, and even turns on all by itself. That poses a problem, since a lot of cooking programs at the historic farm require an oven, according to Corinne Gordon, historic farm specialist with the park district. So on Tuesday, the board heard a request to replace the old oven with a new oven that is designed to look like a 1925 oven. The oven would cost $5,399. “It’s a very specialized piece of equipment,” Baney said. But the oven is essential to programming at the farm, which offers educational programs on “farm to table” canning, using herbs from the garden, pickling and jam making. “For the women of the house, a good portion of the day would be in that kitchen,” Gordon explained to the board. But board president Denny Parish had other concerns. The price tag of more than $5,000 was “a hard swallow,” he said. “I know how this will look to many members of the public,” he said, fearing that citizens may view this as irresponsible spending after the recent passage of the park district levy. “I’m not sure right now that I can support this.” Parish asked if other options had been considered – like buying an actual 1920s-era oven, or asking the vendor Appliance Center to donate a portion of the cost. He also asked how often the oven is actually used at the farm. Gordon said the oven is used every day the farm is open, which is three days each week and for special events. A lot of school groups visit the site. “It’s going to be used continually,” she said, stressing the emphasis on the site being a working farm. It’s one thing to have home-cooked foods already prepared in the kitchen, “it’s another thing to actually smell it and taste it,” Gordon said. Gordon also said a new oven that looks old will be much safer than an authentic old oven. “I think it would be a worthwhile investment,” said Jim Witter, program coordinator for the park district. After discussion, Parish was still not thrilled with the park district spending so much on an…

Mountain biking park and path explored along Slippery Elm Trail

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Park District is hoping to hitch a ride on the off-road mountain biking craze. On Tuesday, the park board voiced support for a proposal to create pump tracks in Rudolph and a mountain bike trail in the savanna area along the Slippery Elm Trail. Park naturalist Craig Spicer presented a proposal for both concepts during the monthly park board meeting held at Harrison Park in Pemberville. The mountain biking park and trail would help the district attract teens and young adults. A survey conducted earlier this year showed only 6 percent of the county park users were college student age. All parks suffer from the same difficulty luring teens and young adults, Spicer said. “They are one of the most finicky audiences,” he said. According to Spicer, off-road and sport biking are growing in popularity. “This is a good opportunity to ride that wave,” he said. The creation of an off-road biking park in Rudolph, and a trail north of the community would also be an investment in a county park in the southern part of Wood County. Currently just five of the county’s 20 parks are south of U.S. 6. “There’s a little bit of imbalance there,” Spicer said. The proposed park would be located in the one-acre area already owned by the park district along the Slippery Elm Trail, just south of Mermill Road. The park board voted last month to have unused farm silos removed from the property. A proposal created by Pump Trax USA shows a park with a “strider” track for little kids, a beginner track, an intermediate and advanced track, and a skills trail for mountain biking. The area would have parking for 30 cars, a bike fix-it station, and a covered shelter house. “This project fits our mission,” Spicer said. “I think it will attract people for years to come.” Maintenance of the park would be similar to the neighboring Slippery Elm Trail, since the bike park courses would be constructed of cement or asphalt. Don DiBartolomeo, of the Right Direction Youth Development Program, told the board he would offer programming for free at the bike park. DiBartolomeo is in the ninth year of running the non-profit youth support program Right Direction, and organizes programming at the skate park in Bowling Green City Park. “Having something like this skills track is huge,” DiBartolomeo told the board. Toledo Metroparks has talked about such an off-road biking program, but has yet to establish one, he said. “This would put you on the map. Nobody’s done it yet,” DiBartolomeo said. Those working on their off-road skills could then try out their new talents in the Rudolph Savanna, located a half-mile north on the Slippery Elm Trail, Spicer said. “The nearest mountain bike trail is in Swanton,” he said. Spicer showed a rough sketch of how a three-mile single-track mountain bike trail could wind its way through the 50-acre savanna area. Park staff have found no evidence of endangered plants in the savanna, and a single-track trail will cause “minimal damage” to the area, he said. Spicer had no cost estimates for either the off-road bike park or trail, but said there are grant opportunities available. “We’re just at the beginning of this,” he told the…

City Park building name may split honor with veterans

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Like the structure it is replacing, the new building planned for City Park will be a salute to veterans. A resolution drafted for Bowling Green City Council suggests that the new building keep the old name – the Veterans Building. The park board agrees that the name should reflect the same reverence to veterans. However, always being conscious of the use of taxpayer funds, Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley is also looking at ways to make the most of public funding. So at a recent park and recreation board meeting, Otley suggested that the city consider sharing naming rights with major donors toward the new building. By asking for donations for the project, the city could more quickly pay off the $3.75 million in bonds for tearing down the old buildings and putting up the new one. Community residents and organizations may be interested in sponsoring the building or specific rooms in the building, Otley said. The name sharing would not detract from the focus on veterans, she assured. Plans are already in place for the lobby to be a place dedicated to veterans memorabilia. Sometime in January or February, the three buildings near the entrance of City Park – the Veterans Building, Girl Scout Building, and Depot – will be demolished. The three buildings will be replaced with one new building, with construction likely to begin in March of 2019. The goal is to have the new City Park building completed by summer of 2020. The city is working on the project with Schorr Architects, a firm that specializes in new buildings that reflect historic values.  The architectural firm has contracted with the local Poggemeyer Design Group. The new building will have adequate space for programming, storage, air conditioning, ADA accessibility, ample parking and an attractive design that reflects the historic nature of City Park. Also at last week’s meeting, the board had a preliminary discussion about raising fees for park and recreation events. The proposal asks for 3 percent increases for most programming and events. The program fees were last increased in 2016. No rate increases are planned for the community center or classes there. The board will likely take action on the fee hikes in September, so City Council can vote on the changes in October. That would allow the new rates to be in place for 2019. Rates to rent park facilities may also be increased, since they have not been changed since 2015. The proposed rate hikes are $5 to $10, Otley said. The board is also considering bumping up “support rates” for groups like the Horizon Youth Theatre, which rents facilities at reduced rates now. The $25 charge may be increased to $30 to help cover costs. To help other community non-profit groups, the board is considering offering a reduced rate for organizations using facilities for fundraisers or programs that benefit the community.

BG may completely snuff out smoking in city parks

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Visitors to Bowling Green’s parks may soon be able to take a deep breath of fresh air without the chance of gagging on secondhand smoke. The Bowling Parks and Recreation Board is discussing the possibility of making all city parks completely smoke-free. The city has long banned smoking in park buildings. Then in 2007, the policy was taken a step further. “At that point the staff was very concerned about smoking near our programs and around our younger users,” said Kristin Otley, director of the city’s parks and recreation department. In order to keep smoking away from ballparks, playgrounds, and shelter houses, the park board banned smoking in all areas except parking lots. In 2015, vaping was included in the smoking restrictions. But on Tuesday evening, the parks and rec board discussed taking the smoking ban further. “Is now the time to go completely smoke free? It’s to the point when there are people doing it, it really bothers the other people,” Otley said. “So we’re just sort of exploring it.” A smoking ban seems to blend well with the park department philosophy. “One of our core values is health,” Otley said. “We want to make sure we’re providing healthy environments and opportunities to the community.” Both Bowling Green State University and Wood County Hospital have banned smoking on their campuses. It is guessed that some of those employees take a short drive to the parks for a smoke. “We’ve been getting a lot more people making comments,” Otley said. And park staff has noticed an uptick in cigarette butts being tossed in the parks. Natural Resources Coordinator Chris Gajewicz recently made signs to post at Wintergarden Park making it clear that people cannot smoke as they walk the trails. “How frustrating is that – when you’re trying to enjoy nature,” Otley said. The board seemed supportive of the complete smoking ban in the parks, but will continue to discuss the matter at the next monthly meeting. The only concern expressed was that a full ban could affect the park building rentals. The new requirement would be posted on rental rules. The new smoking rule would be enforced by park staff – as are the current restrictions. “For the most part, they respect that,” Otley said of those asked to extinguish their cigarettes. If staff ran into problems, they would call city police to assist, she added. “This is definitely something the staff feels very strongly about,” Otley said.

Parks & Rec Foundation hosting fundraiser to benefit Ridge Park

On behalf of the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Foundation Trustees I encourage all to attend the 23rd Annual Wine and Cheese Social and Silent and Live Auctions Friday, September 28th from 5-8 p.m. at the Simpson Building, 1291 Conneaut in Bowling Green. Admission is $50 per person through September 21 and $60 after. You can send a check to Cheryl Witt at BG Parks and Recreation Foundation at the address listed above or call 419-354-6297 or e-mail for a reservation. All proceeds will benefit the completion of Ridge Park. In addition to delicious appetizers and desserts, there will be a variety of wines, beers and soft drinks available. In addition to the Auctions, there will be a wine pull, an autumn mum sale, and a raffle for an Apple Watch. Plan to come to enjoy a wonderful evening. Roger Anderson, BG Parks and Recreation Foundation Trustee

Rudolph to lose old silos, get back Bob Evans sign

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The small community of Rudolph is about to lose its five rusted grain silos, and gain back its sign noting that Bob Evans once lived there. The Wood County Park District board agreed Tuesday to have the unused silos removed along the Slippery Elm Trail, just south of Mermill Road. The park district had purchased the property years ago from Mid-Wood and for a while the silos were rented back to Mid-Wood for use. However, the two large and three small silos have been empty for years. The concrete at the bases is deteriorating, and the steel is rusting, Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger told the board. A company called All Excavating & Demolition approached the district about taking down the silos for a cost of $1,500. The concrete from the silos will be ground up and spread over the site. The steel will be salvaged by the company. The demolition should have no effect on those using the nearby Slippery Elm Trail, Munger said. While discussing the silos removal, board member Bill Cameron asked about the possibility of replacing the sign on the site that noted Bob Evans once resided in Rudolph. Though born in Sugar Ridge, north of Bowling Green, Evans apparently later lived for a period in Rudolph, south of Bowling Green. He went on to create the Bob Evans restaurant chain. “I miss the sign,” Cameron said. Munger said the sign had been taken down years ago when the park district had new siding installed on the old Mid-Wood building. The park district uses the building for storage along the trail. Munger said the sign is still in the building, and will need to be repainted – but it will be restored on the side of the building at the corner of Rudolph and Mermill roads. In other business, Park District Board President Denny Parish asked about the problem of people parking at Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve and then walking to the neighboring stone quarry. “This is an ongoing problem,” he said about people trespassing at the privately-owned quarry to go swimming. Park police chief Todd Nofzinger said the park district has been considering the best way to stop people from wandering from its preserve to the stone quarry. “We’ve been working with Stone Co. and Perrysburg Township Police Department to come up with a solution,” he said. A camera was set up to capture license plates and found that a lot of those people going to the quarry aren’t from Wood County. Munger pointed out that the park district currently has no rule that would preclude people from leaving their cars at the parks during daytime hours. “We don’t have anything that specifically states that people can’t park here and go elsewhere,” he said. The park district has put up barriers to keep people from going from the park to the quarry. And park police have cited a few people for trespassing. “We’re hoping the word gets around and curtails it,” Nofzinger said. Also at the park district meeting, Steve True reported on the construction management at the district, and Rob Brian reported on the operations management. The district’s construction team has completed many projects, including shelter houses, a pole barn, restrooms, stairs and ramps,…