Cottrel: Clark County has plenty of local recreation options


There are times when you just have to get away and disconnect from the world.

Our time for that was last week. It was so nice to not be aware of the craziness on the national and world stage, and instead think about important things like tides, beach reports, and wondering if those fins belong to dolphins or sharks.

It is not always possible to get totally away. Maybe there are obligations, money concerns, or schedule conflicts that get in your way. We have all been there at one time or another, but luckily there is another way to relax right here. The bottom line is that getting away does not have to be hundreds of miles away physically to be of benefit.

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Here in Clark County we are blessed with many “get away” options. I love our nearby hiking and biking trails. So many folks seem to think we need to go to Yellow Springs to find good hiking, but I beg to differ. We have some wonderful options right here in western Clark County.

Have you ever really hiked in George Rogers Clark Park? Those who have never been beyond the location of Fair at New Boston have not really seen this entire park. Follow the drive that runs between the barn and the big white Hertzler House and prepare to be amazed. The road winds through meadows and forests to beautiful Hosterman Lake where fishing is allowed without a license.

It is quiet back there. Only canoes and kayaks are allowed on the lake. And at the far end of the lake you can see a rocky waterfall from one of the trails. There are many trails to hike, shelters for picnics, and isolated tables under shade trees. It is also a great place to just sit on a blanket and read a book in the peace and quiet. Many people I know love to walk their dogs there.

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Another interesting hike can begin at the Davidson Interpretive Center at 5638 Lower Valley Pike. The Davidson has a small museum with some good maps that explain all about the Battle of Peckuwe, the largest Revolutionary War battlefield west of the Allegheny Mountains. Yes, there is a Revolutionary War battle field in our back yards. Really.

After a quick tour of the center you can strike out the back door to actually walk on the same land where George Rogers Clark and his men attacked the village protected by Shawnee Chief Blackhoof and his warriors. There are signs that explain what happened and where on Aug. 8, 1780. And you can walk all the way up to the impressive battlefield monument on the hill overlooking the battlefield. You might even catch some archaeologists busy at a dig along the way.

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Over by Medway, just north of the place where I-675 meets I-70, you will find the Estelle Wenrick Wetlands and Nature Preserve and another place to lose your cares for a day. This nature preserve contains an amazing variety of plants, including some that can only be found there. Birding is terrific and you might get to see beavers or the evidence they’ve been nearby. The first Europeans to have spent much time in Clark County had a trading post in the middle of Medway, near where the stoplight is now. These Frenchmen traded with the Shawnee for beaver pelts. There are two entrances and areas to park. The original one is on Union Road. If you park by the entrance in the middle of Medway you will see some nice signage explaining how that area was also the heart of the interurban railway a hundred years ago.

John Jenkins enjoys jogging at the Wenrick Wetlands because it is always uncrowded and he has one favorite trail that is exactly two miles. Recently he decided to explore the newly opened Mad River Preserve.

“Just checked it out but I’m definitely going back” said Jenkins. “I feel this park could be a gold mine because it’s the first park in the area that gives more public access to one of the greatest natural features Clark County has to offer.”

Jenkins advises that hikers be aware that they might need boots for some mud as the trails have just been developed and haven’t really grassed over yet.

“Not easy access for unsteady feet,” he said, but added that it was worth the effort. “I like it already.”

Some of our trails are paved and are shared by walkers and bicycles. Walking the bike trail from New Carlisle’s Smith Park to over by the New Carlisle Cemetery can also be used by those with strollers or wheelchairs.

“I wouldn’t call it hiking, fully paved, nice rolling hills along the way,” said city resident Sue Anne Martin. “The part between Lake Avenue and down to Route 235 behind Wot-a-Dog is really quiet and calming. We also use part of the bike path for the Heritage of Flight 5K run.”

Of course the Clark County portion of the Little Miami Bike Trail includes some beautiful, quiet shaded areas. This trail runs from the southernmost end of the county to Beatty Station. I see entire families biking together on this rail and making a fun day trip of it. This is called a multi-use trail. There are also hikers and runners and places for picnics along the way. We are so fortunate to be connected to the rest of the state by the trail.

To learn more about our own local hiking trails and parks visit the Clark County Park Offices at the Davidson Center or http://www.clarkcountyparks.org/.



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