Wood County Park District

What’s happening in your community (updated Oct. 20)

NEWLY POSTED: ‘Clue’ cast hosts game night at Grounds, Oct. 26 The cast of the Black Swamp Players’ production of “Clue theMusical” all host a game night Friday, Oct. 26 at 6p.m. at Grounds for Thought in downtown Bowling Green. The show runs Nov. 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18 at First United Methodist Church, 1526 E. Wooster St., Bowling Green. Click for tickets and showtimes. Historical Center hosts Folklore & Funfest, Oct. 20 Everything we love about autumn in one place, at one time. Be sure to check out the family fun  brewing at the Wood County Park District for the 29th annual Folklore & Funfest event on Saturday, October 20 from 4 – 9 p.m. Parking, entrance and all activities are free. Activities include: Horse-drawn carriage rides, live music, games & prizes in Booville, face painting, festive crafts, s’mores on the campfire, nocturnal nature, scarecrow alley, jack-o-lantern walkway, popcorn, spooky trail, and self-guided tours of the Wood County Historical Center & Museum with exhibits on WWI and leisure time activities. Food is available for purchase. Costumes are encouraged, but not required. All ages are welcome. The Wood County Historical Center & Museum is located at 13660 County Home Road, Bowling Green. For more information, visit www.wcparks.org. (County Home Road is available to event traffic only and closed to throug traffic starting at 3:00 pm. The entrance from Route 6 to County Home Road will be open.)   Bob Manley & Friends at Grounds, Oct. 20 Bob Manley and Friends will perform a free show at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green, Saturday, July 20, at 7 p.m. The veteran saxophonist and mainstay of the area music scene will perform with Galen Bundy, keyboard, John Johnson, bass, and Bob Rex, on drums.   BGSU arts events Check out all the arts events happening on campus.   Class on the ‘ABCs of Pruning Trees,’ Oct. 20 The Bowling Green Tree Commission will be hosting a class on the “ABCs of Pruning Trees” on Saturday, Oct. 20,  from 9-11 a.m. at Simpson Garden Park – 1291 Conneaut Ave. The event is free to the public. The class will be held in the classroom and outside. Attendees will learn about proper pruning techniques and considerations for both young and mature trees. Part of the class will be spent outside as we prune several trees. Please contact the Bowling Green Arborist at gjones@bgohio.org or 419.353.4101 if you have any questions.  ‘Our Lil’ Pumpkin’ story time at library, Oct. 20 The Children’s Place of the Wood County District Public Library is offering a special storytime for Babies and Toddlers with caregivers on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 10:30 a.m.Our “Lil’ Pumpkin” storytime will feature tips from the early literacy initiative Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library.  This early literacy initiative encourages parents and caregivers to talk, sing, read, write and play with young children every day. Children’s Place staff will share pumpkin stories, songs, conversation, and finger-painting.For more information, contact the Children’s Place staff at 419-352-8253.   Smashing pumpkins & other projects on tap, Oct. 20 Youth, ages ten and up, or younger accompanied by an adult, are invited to the Wood County District Public Library Children’s Place to investigate pumpkins on Saturday, October 20, from 2-3 p.m. for “Break-It & Make-It with Home Depot”.Youth will break open a…


County park district hits bullseye with archery range

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The latest park hit the bullseye for archers in the Wood County area. On Tuesday, the Wood County Park District held its monthly meeting at the new Arrowwood Archery Park, located on Linwood Road, southeast of Bowling Green. The park adds archery to the activity list of canoeing, biking, fishing, hiking, hunting, kayaking and rock climbing offered by the park district. “It shows the diversity of the Wood County Park District and the diversity of the staff,” said Denny Parish, chairman of the park board. Parish said he is proud of citizen support and staff making the variety of activities possible. Park district Executive Director Neil Munger agreed. “The idea for this archery range actually came from public input,” Munger said. (A grand opening will be held Sunday.) After the meeting, park board members were given a chance to try their skills at the new archery range. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the park board got its annual visit from former park board member and current park patron Frank McLaughlin about the need for more bike accommodations by the county park district. McLaughlin said he was out on the Slippery Elm Trail again this past weekend. He said he can’t imagine any park in the county getting more use. “It’s like a freeway out there on Saturdays and Sundays,” he said. While the trail from Bowling Green to North Baltimore is great, more would be nice. “We could certainly use something from Bowling Green to Perrysburg,” McLaughlin said. Munger mentioned that as a member of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments bicycle committee, the park district has learned of possible plans to use Hull Prairie Road to connect Bowling Green and Perrysburg. McLaughlin noted the narrow nature of Hull Prairie. Wood County is also falling behind on connecting the Chessie Circle and North Coast trails, he said. A bike trail already stretches from Lorain to eastern Wood County, then picks up again in Lucas County heading west to Archbold. McLaughlin mentioned the park district owns land that could be used for a bike trail in the Perrysburg Township area. “It would be nice to see that happen,” he said. “This is the one missing piece,” he said of the east-west bike trail across northern Ohio. Munger said the park district is trying to use a regional approach on bike trails, and will continue to look for grant funding for such projects. The board also agreed to increase park shelter house rental rates to $40 per day. Munger said the rates had been $25 for the last 27 years or so. Other area shelter house rental rates are $30 to $80 for four hours. The park district rentals are all for full days. “It’s still a bargain,” board member Tom Myers said of the new $40 rate. “All of our shelters have electric, so if you bring a crockpot for a reunion,” there’s plenty of power, Munger said. “We’ve got some really good facilities.” In other business at Tuesday’s meeting: Munger mentioned the unexpected death of former park ranger Doug Carr. Board member Bill Cameron asked the district to consider some effort to remember Carr. Park police responded to board member Sandy Wiechman that the number has dropped of the people trespassing from…


Park District opens archery range

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT The Wood County Park District introduces its newest park property. The Arrowwood Archery Park grand opening will be Sunday, October 14, 2018 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Try your hand at archery and receive a short safety and skills lesson available first-come, first-served. Guests are welcome to bring their own equipment. The new archery range, located at 11126 Linwood Road in Bowling Green, will be open every day of the year from 8:00 am until 30 minutes past sunset. It is a covered, open-air shelter that is free to use. Park visitors bring their own equipment for personal range use. Park programs will provide equipment and instruction. The first public program offered at the Arrowwood Archery Park will be the free Jack-O’-Lantern Open Archery on Saturday, October 27th from 10 am until 12:30 pm. Pumpkins and carving tools are provided to create your jack-o-lantern target. Expert instruction and archery equipment are also provided at this Halloween-themed outdoor recreation program. For more information about the 20 parks and nature preserves in the Wood County Park District system and about the public programs offered, please visit www.wcparks.org , or call 419-353-1897.  


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.


Park district programs share nature with public

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT   Intro to Nature Photography Tuesday, September 18; 5:30 – 7:30 pm Bradner Interpretive Center 11491 Fostoria Road, Bradner Interested in capturing the wonders of the outdoors in photographs but unsure how to do so? Bring your camera and practice honing your skills at our Nature Interpretation Center. This session will focus on making the most of natural lighting and taking great pictures without a flash. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Friends’ Migration Field Trip Tuesday, September 18; 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green Join the Friends of the Parks on a tour of the parks in search of migrating songbirds. A light lunch will be provided. Leader: Jim Witter (14) Emerge: Space is limited on the park bus, but participants may follow behind. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Wonderful Wooly Bears! Tuesday, September 18, 6:00 – 7:30 pm Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve 26940 Lime City Road, Perrysburg Do these cute fuzzy “bears” have the ability to forecast our winter? We will search out the answer as we look for them on the trail and in the quarry. All winter prognostications are the responsibility of the larvae of the Isabella tiger moth and are not necessarily the viewpoint of the Wood County Parks.  Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897     Parks Bus Tour Saturday, September 22; 9:00 am – noon Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green Enjoy a naturalist-led tour of a few parks, with a brief hike at each. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Canoeing with Crayfish Saturday, September 22; 9:00 am – noon Weirs Rapids Access 21095 Range Line Rd, Bowling Green Enjoy a scenic float down the Maumee River with Naturalists and ODNR stream scientists who will point out interesting river features. Experience how experts evaluate the health of the river by investigating the critters that call it home! Cost: $10, FWCP $7. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Hunter Education Class Sundays, September 23 and October 28, 2:00 – 6:00 pm Park District Headquarters: Community Classroom 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green Need to complete an Ohio Division of Wildlife Hunter Education course for your hunting license? Finish your Home-Study course with a park officer. Please register online at http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/education-and-outdoor-discovery/hunter-and-trapper-education with the “Find a Course” link in the Home-Study Course section. Registration ends Sundays, September 16 and October 21 to allow for completion of online portion of the class. Leader: Mark Wagner (30) Emerge: Topics covered include wildlife conservation, safety, and the proper handling of firearms and other hunting equipment. Please note that all registration and coursework must be completed in advance. We are unable to accept walk-ins the day of the program. Registration ends Sundays, September 16 and October 21 to allow for completion of online portion of the class. Sign up for one class only, each will cover the same material.   Harvest Full Moon Walk Monday, September 24, 7:30 – 9:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Be sure to catch what is usually one of the most beautiful moonrises of the year. Join us on a moonlit stroll around the pond and learn some moon lore.  Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897…


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…


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,…


Wood County ‘park rangers’ changed to ‘park police’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The shouted command, “Stop, park ranger,” just doesn’t carry the same authority as “Stop, police.” For that reason and others, the Wood County Park District’s rangers asked the park board Tuesday to change their title from rangers to police officers. The park board voted unanimously to do so. In the past, the county park rangers had law enforcement and maintenance roles. That has changed, and the rangers now perform strictly law enforcement duties. The park rangers are certified Ohio Peace Officers, and the name change would clarify their authority. “In making this change, we are hoping to clarify exactly what we do as certified peace officers working in the park district, and to help our employees, visitors and neighbors feel more secure while being in or near our properties,” the rangers’ proposal stated. “As rangers, we constantly encounter people who have no idea what a park ranger is or that we are law enforcement officers,” the proposal continued. “We have had people question our need for carrying a gun, if we have the same authority as law enforcement, and challenge us when we try to enforce park rules and laws.” The rangers also said when working with multiple agencies and dispatchers, it takes time to explain their authority. When rangers formally make a criminal charge in court, they sometimes have to remind court employees that they are certified peace officers. “We believe that because of the public’s inability to distinguish exactly what we are or what we do, eventually an incident may escalate the need for force and thus escalate the liability of the park district,” their proposal stated. Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger said Delaware County’s park system has changed the title of its rangers to police. “It clears up any vagueness to what their responsibility is,” Munger said. Ranger Mark Reef agreed. “This is so the public can identify that we have law enforcement authority.” Toledo Metroparks still refers to its officers as rangers, according to Scott Carpenter, head of public relations for the metroparks. “We like them being called rangers,” Carpenter said, adding that the officers do more than protect people, by also looking out for nature. Carpenter also noted that all national parks are patrolled by park rangers, not park police. Wood County Park District Chief Ranger Todd Nofzinger said the name change will not change the rangers’ roles. “It doesn’t change what we do. It doesn’t change our daily duties,” Nofzinger said. Board member Sandy Wiechman had a few logistical questions, but was told the name change would not require any additional training or radio changes. “It’s been a long time coming, and they deserve it,” she said. There will be an expense of about $4,000, to change markings on vehicles, badges, paperwork and patches. In 2012, the rangers presented a proposal that would replace their shotguns with AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. They asserted that the weapons, in addition to providing less legal liability than the shotguns if fired, would also be more practical when rangers are required to dispatch rabid animals and would also serve rangers better in cases of a possible active shooter situation. The park board at the time did not approve that request. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the park district board decided…


Park district agrees to turn farmland into wetlands

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Park District will be allowing tiled farmland to revert back to wetlands – with the help of a $301,000 grant. The park district board voted last week to work with the Black Swamp Conservancy, which received the grant, to turn 10 acres of the Carter Historic Farm property into a wetlands area. The decision came despite protests by Tom Carpenter, who farms the land which Sally Loomis donated to the park district. “There was a significant amount of labor in clearing that land,” Carpenter said. But with the grant funding needing to be accepted by July 1, the park board voted to go ahead with the first phase of the wetlands project. “I know that’s not the outcome you wanted,” park board president Denny Parish said to Carpenter after the vote. “But I respect you coming.” Carpenter attended many of the park board meetings where the wetlands project was discussed. “I’m just trying to preserve the farmland that’s already there,” he said. Carpenter pointed out that the acreage being turned into wetlands will have a “very, very minimal” impact on Lake Erie, since an estimated 6 million acres drain into the lake. But the idea of turning down grant funding just didn’t sit well with the park board. “I’m sympathetic to what your position is,” Parish said to Carpenter. “But that money is going to be spent,” Parish said. “It’s either going to be spent in Wood County or it’s going to be spent somewhere else.” With the $301,000, the Black Swamp Conservancy plans to make the 10-acre field into a large “bowl” with small pools to hold water longer. Trees and shrubs will be planted, explained Melanie Coulter and Rob Crain, executive director of the conservancy. Berms along the edges of the wetlands will allow for trails that can be used for educational purposes. Crain said work will likely begin on the acreage as soon as the crops are taken off later this year. The wetlands plan will slow down water into the ditch, which leads to the Touissaint Creek, and then to the Maumee River basin. Instead of field water running straight into the ditch from tiles, it will be filtered, Coulter explained. The original plan called for two 10-acre portions to be converted into wetlands in two phases. Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger said another option could be to turn the second 10 acres into a wet prairie, which would be much less expensive. But two board members, Tom Myers and Bill Cameron, expressed a desire for the park district to fund the rest of the project, estimated at $148,000 to turn the other 10 acres into wetlands. “I hate to see projects start and then stop,” Cameron said. And Myers noted the recent passage of the park district levy, pointing out that the park board has a duty to invest in its properties. A decision on the next phase will be made at a later date. In other business, the park board gave all year-round employees a 3.5 percent raise, effective July 1. Parish said the board was reluctant to grant raises at the beginning of the year, since it had a levy on the May ballot. However, the overwhelming passage of the…


Park District offers nature education programs in June

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT   PIPs: Dragonflies and Art in the Park Friday, June 1; 10:00 am – noon WW Knight Nature Preserve 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Look for dragonflies through their life cycle and create artwork guided by local artist Valerie Rowley. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Paddle the Pond Every Monday, June-August; 4:00 – 7:30 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Enjoy a float on the pond at W.W. Knight Nature Preserve; perfect for a family outing, comfort-builder for beginners, or relaxing exercise! An instructor will be available for introductory safety and skills education. All boats, life-jackets, and paddles provided. Boats and gear on a first-come-first-served basis. Enjoy a nature walk while you wait! The last Monday of every month will feature kayaks along with canoes: June 26, July 24, August 28.   Kayak Safety & Rescue Saturday, June 2; 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Three Meadows Pond 700 Three Meadows Drive, Perrysburg Join American Canoeing Association instructors to advance your kayak safety and rescue skills. Be prepared to take a swim through this involved course that will help you keep all boats afloat and prepare you for when they don’t. See online description for full details and registration requirements.  Cost: $25, FWCP $20 Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Senior Nature Hike Series Mondays, June 4 and August 6, 10:00 – 11:30 am June 4: WW Knight Nature Preserve 29530 White Road, Perrysburg August 6: Otsego Park 20000 West River Road, Bowling Green Join a naturalist for exercise and the wonder of watching the seasonal changes. The hikes will offer a true mind-body connection. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Bird Song I.D. Part Two Tuesday, June 6; 7:00 – 8:30 pm Slippery Elm Trail: Cricket Frog Cove 14810 Freyman Road, Cygnet Get some experience listening for breeding birds as we build upon skills learned in March’s bird song program. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 EcoLit Book Group Meeting Thursday, June 7, 7:00 – 9:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve Friends’ Green Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg For this meeting, please read The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age by Richard Louv. 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 www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Bike Skills Bash Sunday, June 10; 1:00 – 3:00 pm Black Swamp Preserve 1014 South Maple Street, Bowling Green Learn from the pros of Spoke Life Cycles as they teach fundamental skills to conquer off-road biking challenges and features. Bring your own bike and helmet. This class is appropriate for riders of all skill levels! Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Open Bouldering Wednesday, June 13; 6:00 – 8:00 pm Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve 26940 Lime City Road, Perrysburg Come anytime between 6:00 and 8:00 to get hands-on with the quarry rock as staff share knowledge, tips, and tricks to get beginners climbing safely in this ever-challenging outdoor sport. Crash pads for safe landing and limited chalk supplied. Wear flexible, yet sturdy footwear with good grip. No registration needed. Night Nature                                      Thursday, June 14; 9:00 – 10:30 pm Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve 26940 Lime City Road, Perrysburg When the sun sets not everybody goes to bed, experience the park after dark and learn about some fascinating creatures that wake after the gates normally close….


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 with projects like seed cleaning and planting, Scott said. The stewardship goal is to maintain economic prosperity while sustaining the natural systems. “We want to please the public, but we also want to protect nature,” Scott said. In addition to working with plants, the stewardship program also works to introduce quail and honey bees. The public is encouraged to “adopt-a-garden,” and monitoring programs keep an eye on native plants, streams and butterflies. In other business at meeting, the board accepted the lowest bid of $20,648 for a ranger utility vehicle, from Honda East in Maumee. The vehicle is ideal for operating on the Slippery Elm Trail, Munger said.


Park farmland may be allowed to revert to wetlands

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Twenty acres of farmland north of Bowling Green may be allowed to return to its former state as part of the Great Black Swamp. Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger is excited about the park acreage becoming a piece of history and a habitat for wetland wildlife. But the man who has farmed the acreage for four decades isn’t sold on the change. Tom Carpenter doesn’t need the 20 acres for his livelihood. But as a farmer, it just grates on him that well-drained land will be forced back to its wetland roots. And during an open house on the wetlands plan last week, Carpenter didn’t mince words. “Our goal is to keep it farmland,” he said. The 20 acres sit in the back property of the Carter Historic Farm. Other acreage on the farmstead will continue to be farmed. The wetlands project, as proposed by the Black Swamp Conservancy and designed by Hull and Associates, would render 20 acres of farmland unfarmable in the future. The wetlands would have several benefits, according to Melanie Coulter, of the Black Swamp Conservancy. It would filter runoff before it goes into the nearby Toussaint Creek. It would provide habitat for wetlands habitat. And it would give the public a place to view swamp-like conditions that once covered this region. The drain tiles currently in the 20 acres would be blocked to allow the land to flood, explained Jordan Rofkar, of Hull and Associates. Dirt would be moved to create low areas for water and mounds for native trees and shrubs. “The intent is to create a mixture of habitats,” Rofkar said. The small open ponds should attract turtles and frogs, along with birds like herons, ducks and woodcocks, Coulter said. The wetlands should also benefit the water quality for one of the streams that flows into the Maumee River “area of concern,” designated by the U.S. and Ohio EPA, she said. “Wetlands are known to do a lot of water filtration,” she said. For Munger, showing park visitors the historic farm’s previous state and “recreating the Great Black Swamp” is a great opportunity. The park district’s trail through the nearby wooded area may be expanded into the wetlands – possibly as a boardwalk, he said. He is hoping the bulk of the estimated $300,000 cost to transform the area into wetlands will come from grant funding. The proposal will be presented to the park district board of commissioners next for their decision to proceed or not. Carpenter hopes the park board will reconsider. He believes that Sally Loomis Carter, who gave her family’s farm to the park district, would not have wanted the farmland to return to swamp. After all, her family worked hard to drain the acreage so it could be fertile farmland “This is not something she would have wanted to do,” Carpenter said during the open house on the plans. But Munger disputed that viewpoint. Family members and former park staff who knew her, feel that Carter would have been pleased with the plan. Carpenter suggested that if the goal is to keep the waterways clean, that a buffer strip be planted along the ditch. He also quoted the Black Swamp Conservancy’s mission statement, which addresses protecting farmland. “This is…


County parks levy takes a hike with levy victory

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As voters where casting their ballots, the Wood County Park District board was holding its monthly meeting in the Bradner Preserve. It was a perfect day to be in a park. Sun was shining. Trees were budding. The park board was hoping that feeling would continue into the evening when the votes were counted. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” said park board president Denny Parish. There was no need for caution, since the voters showed that they supported the county park district’s mission by approving the 1-mill renewal levy by 74 percent. The unofficial count was 14,462 to 5,207. The park board was worried of other financial competition on Tuesday’s ballot. “We were concerned there would be several financial issues on the ballot,” Parish said. “But it’s obvious tonight that people who support the parks, support the parks.” The key to such overwhelming support could have been that the park district stuck with its 1-mill levy, rather than increasing its millage. For the last decade, the levy has generated about $2.8 million a year. That amount is expected to grow to $3 million a year because of new construction in the county. Or it could have been all the park district offers for residents. The county park district has grown to 20 different parks, with 1,125 acres, open 365 days a year. “I think it’s just the good work that the people I work with everyday do for the parks,” said Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger. The park district may have also won such support by showing voters that it listens to their suggestions. Based on resident requests, new programming has been added – both educational and adventure activities, Munger said. “Everybody likes what we’ve been doing,” he said. “We’ll keep listening to the public to see what they want to see for their parks.” Park district adventure activities include archery, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, hiking, geo-caching, hunting, rock rappelling, bicycling and bouldering. Programs are offered throughout the year, including classes on wildlife, bird migration, nature photography, stream studies, fire building, seed cleaning, beekeeping, trees, yoga, tai chi and camping. There are also full moon walks, senior nature hikes, wildflower walks, and summer nature camps. The park district also shares its wealth, with small community parks in the county. The district awards $100,000 a year to local parks for such items as playground equipment, restrooms, or ADA accommodations. During the last several years, the park district has focused funding on land acquisitions.  But that focus is about to shift. “I think we’re looking at a maintenance phase,” Munger said. But don’t think the park district won’t continue to grow – it’s just that they will do so with different funding sources like grants. “I wouldn’t say we’re going to sit back on our laurels,” Munger said. And now the park district can start planning for the future, Parish said. The Wood County Park District currently has 20 sites throughout the county, including Adam Phillips Pond, Baldwin Woods Preserve, Bradner Preserve, Beaver Creek Preserve, Black Swamp Preserve, Buttonwood Recreation Area, Carter Historic Farm, Cedar Creeks Preserve, Fuller Preserve, William Henry Harrison Park, W.W. Knight Preserve, Otsego Park, Reuthinger Memorial Preserve, Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve, Slippery Elm Trail, Rudolph Savanna Area, Cricket Frog Cove Area,…


Park district springs into may with full slate of nature programs

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT The Wood County Park District is offering a variety of nature programs in May. Spring Wildflower Walk                          Tuesday, May 1; 6:00 – 7:30 pm Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve 26940 Lime City Road, Perrysburg Woodland wildflowers put on a brief, but beautiful show on the forest floor. Join us for a naturalist led stroll to see who is starring this month. Learn why these flowers are called ephemerals. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Archery Skills: Rainbow and Arrow Thursday, May 3; 6:30 – 8:00 pm Otsego Park 20000 West River Road, Bowling Green Improve your archery skills through this short, beginner-friendly instructional program, focusing on the steps of shooting and consistency. Make progress you can see, as we create some artistic targets using our newfound skills. All archery equipment provided, personal gear welcome (inspected at program). Must be 7 yrs of age or older to attend. Minors must be accompanied by legal guardian. Bring a small canvas, shirt, poster, or anything you’d like splatter-painted! $5/$3 FWCP Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 EcoLit Book Group Meeting Thursday, May 3, 7:00 – 9:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve Friends’ Green Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg For this meeting, please read The Sea Around Us, Special Edition (1989) by Rachel Carson. 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 atwww.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Homeschoolers: Bird Migration Friday, May 4; 10:00 – 11:30 am Bradner Preserve: Nature Interpretation Center Northwest Ohio is a great place to witness the spring migration! Learn about where these birds are going, how our parks play an important role, and what species you might see before heading out into the field. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Heritage Farm Demo Saturday, May 5; 1:00 – 5:00 pm Carter Historic Farm 18331 Carter Road, Bowling Green  Stop by any time during the afternoon the first Saturday of each month to see farm staff and volunteers in action working on the farm. No registration needed. wcparks.org Intro to Nature Photography Tuesday, May 8; 6:00 – 8:00 pm Bradner Nature Interpretation Center 11491 Fostoria Road, Bradner Interested in capturing the wonders of the outdoors in photographs, but unsure of what all of those camera settings do? Bring your camera and practice honing your skills at our new Nature Interpretation Center. This session will focus on how to use those camera settings to your advantage. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Nature Journaling Thursday, May 10; 6:30 – 8:00 pm Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve 26940 Lime City Road, Perrysburg We provide the sketchbook for your outdoor journaling adventure, Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN), Sue Frankforther, is your guide. She’ll share her passion for nature, writing and illustration and get you started. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Spring Tree and Woody Plant ID                          Saturday, May 12; 3:00 – 5:00 pm Bradner Preserve 11491 Fostoria Road, Bradner They are some of the largest living things in our parks, but do you know how to tell an oak from a maple or poison ivy from Virginia creeper? Woody plants anchor many of the habitats that native wildlife need, begin learning some of these fascinating organisms and how they benefit animals and people. We will be learning in the outdoors, both on and…