State’s largest rock-climbing park set to open in Clark County


The largest rock-climbing area in the state will open Sunday in Clark County but first the natural attraction must be cleaned up.

The Mad River Gorge and Nature Preserve will be a 100-acre property that consists of trails, climbing cliffs and the Mad River. Much of the land was covered with garbage as it had been used as an illegal dumping ground for years.

“We are getting ready for a big weekend. We’ve got an anticipated 200 to 300 volunteers coming out (Saturday),” said Carol Kennard, executive director of the Clark County Combined Park District.

RELATED: Clark County Park District purchases 2 new park locations

The district received an $800,000 Clean Ohio Conservation Fund Grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission to purchase the land for the state’s largest rock climbing park.

Half of the money will be used for the acquisition, Kennard said, and the other half for the cleanup.

“For decades people have been dumping trash over the cliffs,” she said. “It was an easy way to get rid of trash back in the day.”

Park staff members and volunteers now have a big job to clean it all up, she said.

The area has been in the process of being cleaned up for months before opening day. Volunteers also spent Friday morning cleaning up the gorge, using a crane, several Dumpsters, construction equipment on site to haul trash out.

RELATEDProposed changes to mining permit concerns Clark County residents

The Clark County Solid Waste District provided 100 bagsters to help. They were filled at the bottom of the gorge with tires, propane tanks, cables and old toys then hoisted out by the crane.

Aaron Boyd, a volunteer who’s also a climber, is happy the area is finally being reclaimed.

“We are making it clean for the general public,” he said. “It’s going to be a nice rock-climbing area.”

Climbing associations in the state have told the Clark County Park District that the new park will be the largest climbing area in Ohio, Kennard said. The preserve has about 40 to 50 cliffs.

Boyd’s happy that something like it is close to home.

“I’ve been a climber for about 20 years and it’s not easy being a climber in Ohio,” Boyd said.

He lives about 30 minutes away from the preserve and said this will make his hobby much easier to enjoy.

DETAILS: National Trail Parks are places where lifelong memories are made

Saturday more volunteers will arrive to clean up the remainder of the park. They also will help the Ohio Climbers’ Coalition build trails and natural steps and remove invasive plants like honeysuckle, Kennard said.

Food trucks will be on site for lunch.

Outdoor vendors, raffles, silent auctions and outdoor competitions will also be available for volunteers after cleanup.

At noon Sunday, the park district will host a grand opening of the nature preserve. The event will include climbing demonstrations and nature hikes along the Mad River.

This is the park is for everyone, Kennard said.

“Beginner climbers, there will be spots where they can climb and then there are some more challenging areas where experienced climbers can explore,” she said.

For more information about the park, visit clarkcountyparks.org.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Dog recovers after attack by hawk in backyard
Dog recovers after attack by hawk in backyard

A dog in Massachusetts is on the mend after she was attacked in her backyard by a hawk. It's been a few days for Daisy and her owner Susan Nascimeno after the 10-year-old bichon frise was attacked by a hawk Monday afternoon while fenced in her East Freeport backyard.  "She was just covered in blood -- her chest, back, butt, everything was...
Texas man gets life in prison for beating, stomping girlfriend's baby
Texas man gets life in prison for beating, stomping girlfriend's baby

A Texas man was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday after his conviction for beating and stomping his girlfriend’s baby to death, KDFW reported. Joshua Beard and the child’s mother, Alexis Botello, are accused of burying the girl in Parker County. According to police, in 2014 Beard slammed 18-month old Tylea so hard onto a bed that...
Missing 15-year-old Kentucky girl found safe in Louisville, police say
Missing 15-year-old Kentucky girl found safe in Louisville, police say

A 15-year-old Kentucky girl who left school to leave with an unknown person has been found, WKYT reported Thursday. Amber Renae Wagers was found safe in Louisville, the Berea Police Department said in a Facebook post. Wagers, 15, walked out of Berea Community School around 10 a.m. Wednesday to leave with an unknown person, police said. Investigators...
James Shaw Jr. raises $170,000 for Waffle House shooting victims
James Shaw Jr. raises $170,000 for Waffle House shooting victims

James Shaw Jr., who disarmed a gunman who opened fire at a Waffle House in Tennessee on Sunday, has raised more than $170,000 in a fundraiser to help the victims’ families, CNN reported. Shaw, who wrestled a rifle away from the gunman and tossed it over the counter, launched a GoFundMe campaign that easily topped its $15,000 goal. Four...
Kim Jong Un steps over border, meets with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in
Kim Jong Un steps over border, meets with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in

In an electric moment, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stepped over the heavily fortified demilitarized zone to shake hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Reuters reported Friday. Smiling and holding hands, the Korean leaders met for the first summit between the two nations in more than a decade.  It’s the first time since...
More Stories