slippery elm trail

Partial closures on Slippery Elm Trail on Tuesday

As part of ongoing maintenance, the Slippery Elm Trail will have sealant applied on Tuesday, September 18.  The partial closures on Tuesday will be along the trail between the crossroads of Bays Road and Portage Road. The grass shoulders along the trail will be open for public use. The Slippery Elm Trail is expected to be fully open on Wednesday, September 19. The Wood County Park District and Strawser Construction are working to provide trail access throughout this trail update.


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…


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…


Crossing Gypsy Lane to get to Slippery Elm Trail is a hazard

I want to talk today about the crossing of the Slippery Elm Trail at Gypsy Lane Road.  I have been riding the Trail since at least 2009, and in that time I have noticed a significant wait time sometimes at that crossing.  I have also noticed many families, some with small children, on a family outing waiting to be able to cross. This situation concerns me.  We need either a stop sign or a traffic light there. It would be a catastrophe if we waited until a cyclist was hit or killed. With more and more motorists not paying enough attention to cyclists on the roads we need to make the Slippery Elm Trail a safe place for cyclists, both young and old.   Lori Terwilliger Bowling Green


Electric bikes to be allowed on Slippery Elm Trail

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Park District is planning to open up the Slippery Elm Trail to a new type of traveler – one that may not sweat as much as they pedal against the wind. On Tuesday, the park commissioners voted to go along with Ohio House Bill 250, which allows electric assist bicycles on bike paths that were previously off-limits to anything with an electric motor. The bill permits electric bikes that hit top speeds of 20 mph, but not the more powerful type that go as fast as 28 mph. The reason for allowing the electric bikes is simple, according to Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger. “It opens the trails up to a whole different segment of population,” those who cannot ride regular bicycles, he said. “This will give them an opportunity to get out there again,” Munger said. “Let’s see how it works out.” The electric bikes work using a small battery motor, said chief park ranger Todd Nofzinger. “I don’t see it being an issue at all,” Nofzinger said. “It’s electric, so it’s totally silent.” The bikes are quite expensive, Munger said, costing two or three times as much as a regular bicycle. So they will likely be rather rare on the bike trail. “I don’t see any issue with this as well,” he said. The electric bikes will not cause hazards due to their speed, since many bicyclists can pedal as fast as 20 mph, Munger added. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board heard a report from Eric Scott, coordinator of the stewardship program, which focuses on managing the park land. The stewardship staff analyzes the park land and then creates plans for the different properties. The park district has a wide range of land types to care for, Scott said, including woodlots, prairie and wetlands. One of the biggest problems in maintaining the land is intrusion by invasive species of plants, like garlic mustard. Also affecting the land is climate change and encroaching development, Scott said. Options for controlling the sites include prescribed burns of the prairies, mowing, weeding, cutting, herbicides, pesticides and water. The district also works on seed collecting and planting. The district relies on volunteers to help…


Park district turned off by plan for electric lines along trail

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Park District Board members aren’t exactly charged up about a request from American Electric Power. The electric company has approached the park district about getting an easement for a new line along the Slippery Elm Trail near North Baltimore. The request covers the strip of land on the west side of the trail from Quarry Road to Broadway Street, where the trail starts in North Baltimore. Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger listed several concerns about giving an easement for the power lines. First, it would mean the loss of most if not all the vegetation and trees on the west side of the trail. Second, Munger has concerns about poles being installed right next to the trail. And third, the southernmost section of the Slippery Elm Trail would likely need to be closed to users during construction. Park board chairman Denny Parish said the district does not have to approve the request from American Electric Power. It is unknown if AEP can use eminent domain for the project. The board suspected that AEP is asking the park district for an easement because it would be easier than dealing with several different landowners along different routes. Munger said the high transmission lines will be on 80-foot poles, which are about twice the height of standard poles for electric lines. Board member John Calderonello pointed out that the lack of a vegetation wind barrier will make that portion of the trail much more difficult and unpleasant for bicyclists and walkers. And board member Christine Seiler noted that the buzzing from the overhead electric lines will take away the peaceful feel of the trail. Seiler asked if there would be any benefit to the park district for granting the easement. Munger said there would be none, other than a payment to the park district for the easement. The amount of that payment is unknown. A representative of American Electric Power is scheduled to attend the park district board meeting in January, to make a pitch for the easement along the Slippery Elm Trail. Seiler, whose last meeting with the park district board is in December, expressed regret that she wouldn’t be present to vote on the…


Newly sealed Slippery Elm Trail now less slippery

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Slippery Elm Trail is now a little less slippery. The 13-mile rails to trail that stretches from Bowling Green to North Baltimore has been paved with a new surface product called Onyx. The sealant promises to last longer, seal faster and be less slippery. “I’ve had nothing but great comments on the Onyx,” Jeff Baney, assistant director of the Wood County Park District, said last week during a meeting of the district board. “Everybody loves it.” Some of those comments came during the board meeting by park board commissioner Christine Seiler, who had just used the trail that morning. “The traction was wonderful,” even with all the rain the area had the previous day. However, Seiler said there appeared to be some areas of the trail where the old pavement seemed to be showing through. Baney said he would check on that. The Wood County Park District Board paid $119,552 to seal the trail, including striping of the trail at intersections along the route. According to Ned Fairbanks, the park district maintenance specialist, the product has a proven record of creating a stronger surface that will last longer. The sealing product also remains black since it does not fade in the sun like other sealants used in the past. That will help with melting the snow, since the district does not salt or plow the Slippery Elm Trail. The Onyx also has a quick setting time, meaning there was less time that the trail was closed to users, Fairbanks said at a previous meeting. “Within a matter of hours, it’s usable,” he said. That’s a real plus, said Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger. “As soon as they sealcoat it, we’ve got people chomping at the bit to use it,” he said. And unlike some other sealants, the Onyx provides a non-slick surface. “We wanted to make sure we weren’t using something that if someone is rollerblading and it’s wet, that they’re down,” Baney said. Baney said sealants used in the past on the 12-foot wide trail have lasted about three years. This product should last about nine, he said. “We’re looking for longevity of the asphalt,” Fairbanks said. Also at Tuesday’s park board meeting,…


Trail sealant to last longer, seal faster, be less slippery

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Slippery Elm Trail will soon be sealed with a product that promises to last longer, seal faster, and be well, despite the trail’s name, less slippery. The Wood County Park District Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to pay $119,552 to seal the 13-mile trail from Bowling Green to North Baltimore. The price includes striping of the trail at intersections along the route. The product being used this time is called Onyx, by Strawser Construction in Columbus. Ned Fairbanks, the park district maintenance specialist, said the product has a proven record of creating a stronger surface that will last longer. The sealing product also remains black since it does not fade in the sun like other sealants used in the past. That will help with melting the snow, since the district does not salt or plow the Slippery Elm Trail. The Onyx also has a quick setting time, meaning less time that the trail would have to be closed to users, Fairbanks said. “Within a matter of hours, it’s usable,” he said. That’s a real plus, said Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger. “As soon as they sealcoat it, we’ve got people chomping at the bit to use it,” he said. And unlike some other sealants, the Onyx provides a non-slick surface. “We wanted to make sure we weren’t using something that if someone is rollerblading and it’s wet, that they’re down,” said Jeff Baney, assistant director of the county park district. The sealant also comes with a one-year warranty. Baney said sealants used in the past on the 12-foot wide trail have lasted about three years. This product should last about nine, he said. “We’re looking for longevity of the asphalt,” Fairbanks said. The park district has not used Onyx before, but the city of Bowling Green has used it on Pearl Street, with good results, Baney said. “The people I talked to thought it was really good,” he said. The park district plans for the resealing to take place sometime this spring, probably being done in sections. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the park district board: Approved the rappelling and bouldering program at Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve. Released the grant funding approved last year for…