Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks

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The Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks are a group of 19 metropolitan parks in and around Columbus, Ohio. They are officially organized into the Columbus and Franklin County Metropolitan Park District. The Metro Parks system was organized in 1945 under Ohio Revised Code Section 1545 as a separate political division of the state of Ohio. The Metro Parks are overseen by a Board of Park Commissioners consisting of three citizens appointed to three-year terms without compensation by the Judge of the Probate Court of Franklin County, Ohio. The Board in turn appoints an Executive Director responsible for operations and management of the parks.

Contents

The Metro Parks system protects over 27,500 acres (111 km2) of land and water and extends over seven counties in Central Ohio [1] and the Hocking Hills area. Facilities and programs include trails, shelters, lodges, nature centers, educational facilities and programs, natural resources management, stormwater management, picnicking, boating, and other recreational activities.

Parks

Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap  
Download coordinates as: KML

Battelle Darby Creek

Located along the southwest boundary of Franklin County Battelle Darby Creek is the largest Metro Park at over 7,103 acres (2,874 ha). [2] [3] The park encompasses lands and creek beds north & south of the confluance of the Big & Little Darby Creeks. Unique features include restored tallgrass prairie areas totalling 2,000 acres (810 ha) [4] that house a group of 10 American bison, [5] [6] a large nature center with exhibits about the exceptional biodiversity of Big Darby Creek, and a Fort Ancient mound. Thirteen miles of the Big Darby Creek and Little Darby Creek flow through the park. Much of the land for the park was donated by the Battelle Memorial Institute. The northern parcel lies just outside the town of West Jefferson (In Madison County). The park follows the Darby Creeks south past the village of Georgesville and continues towards the crossroads of Darbydale. Detached parcels of the park extend along Darby Creek to the village of Harrisburg (into Pickaway County).

Blacklick Woods

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Blacklick Woods.jpg
Blacklick Woods Metro Park

Opened in 1948, and located in Reynoldsburg, this 643-acre (260 ha) park [7] is the oldest park in the system. Within the forested area of the park is the Walter A. Tucker State Nature Preserve preserving one of the oldest Beech-maple forest in central Ohio. In the southern area of the preserve you can find an assortment of white and pin oak, white ash with specimens of red maple, red elm, shagbark and bitternut hickory, hophornbeam, American hornbeam and dogwood. There are also wetlands and seasonable ponds in the southern area of the nature preserve where salamanders, chorus frogs, and wood ducks among other aquatic life and amphibians can be found. [8] Fox, Rabbits, and White-Tailed Deer can also be seen throughout the park. It is also well known as a good spot for bird watching. [9] The Golf Course has been certified by Audubon International as a Cooperative Sanctuary. [10] The Blacklick Woods Nature Center with Naturalists and volunteers is also available to answer questions. Blacklick Creek flows south along the eastern boundary of the park and is accessible by several trails that travel through a variety of fields, meadows, and forests.

In 1974, Blacklick Woods was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. [11]

Blendon Woods

Blendon Woods forests in fall Blendon Woods-Mixed Forests in Fall 1.jpg
Blendon Woods forests in fall

Located in Northeast Columbus near Westerville, the 653-acre (264 ha) Blendon Woods contains rolling forest land along with the 118-acre (48 ha) Walden Waterfowl Refuge with its 11-acre Thoreau Lake. The park also features a nature center, natural play area and a disc golf course.

Chestnut Ridge

Opened in 1988, Chestnut Ridge is located on the first ridge in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains southeast of Columbus near Carroll. [12] At 1,116 feet (340 m) above sea level, it rises approximately 300 feet above the surrounding land. On clear days, it is possible to see the skyline of Downtown Columbus from one of the overlook points on top of the ridge. Other features of the park include picnic areas and extensive mountain biking trails.

Clear Creek

The most remote of all Columbus Metro Parks, Clear Creek is located near Rockbridge in the Hocking Hills region of southeast Ohio. Nearly the entire park is designated a State Nature Preserve, making off trail activity prohibited. Unique features of the park include stands of hemlock trees, numerous deep hollows, and wildflowers.

Glacier Ridge

Glacier Ridge Metro Park Glacier Ridge Metro Park 2.JPG
Glacier Ridge Metro Park

Just northwest of Dublin, Glacier Ridge opened to the public in 2002. [13] The park contains a paved multi-use trail, a disc golf course, a bridle trail, and a large wetland area.

Heritage Trail

This linear park located in Hilliard opened in 1995. The primary feature of the park is a 7-mile (11 km) multi-use trail.

Highbanks

Highbanks Metro Park Trees in Highbanks Park.JPG
Highbanks Metro Park

The most visited in the park system, Highbanks Metro Park contains exceptional natural features and was designated as a National Natural Landmark. [14] Located near Lewis Center, the park was named for large shale bluffs that overlook the Olentangy River. Within the park is a large nature center, a sledding hill, a Natural Play Area where off trail activity is permitted, Adena culture mounds, and the Edward F. Hutchins State Nature Preserve.

Homestead

In Hilliard, Ohio, Homestead is a 44-acre (18 ha) park in Hilliard featuring a covered bridge, a replica train station and an outdoor amphitheater. It has a 0.75-mile paved trail which connects to the 7-mile Heritage Trail, which runs along the park's western border.

Inniswood Metro Gardens

Unique among the Metro Parks, Inniswood Metro Gardens (also known as Inniswood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve) is primarily a managed botanical garden. Located in Westerville, there are a number of theme gardens that showcase various plant communities.

Pickerington Ponds

Pickerington Ponds is a 1,608-acre (651 ha) park with several trails and 5 overlooks for bird and other wildlife watching. [15] A State Nature Preserve in Southeast Columbus, this park was first acquired in 1986. It is primarily focused on providing a habitat for various birds and contains many wetland areas. Pickerington Ponds is designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Ohio. More than 260 species of birds have been seen here. [16]

Prairie Oaks

Located on the Franklin and Madison County border, Prairie Oaks first opened to the public in 2000. [17] As the name suggests, the park contains large areas of restored Oak Savannah that were common in the area prior to European settlement in the 1800s. A former quarry area in the eastern part of the park provides boating opportunities as well as a canine swimming area.

Quarry Trails

Located on the west side of Columbus in the community of San Margherita, Quarry Trails is a 220-acre (89 ha) park that was formerly the Marble Cliff Quarry. [18] The quarry was the largest limestone quarry in the United States from its opening in the mid-19th century until its sale around 1985. [19] On November 30, 2021, the first 62-acre section of the park opened to the public and allows for biking, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, canoeing, paddle-boarding, floating boardwalks, a zipline, and a sledding hill. The park is situated within a larger development which will have apartments, townhomes, condominiums, office space and retail. [18]

Rocky Fork

Rocky Fork Metro Park is in Westerville, Ohio. It features about 1,000 acres (400 ha) of woods and fields. The park includes a bridle trail, dog park and off-leash dog trail, a paved trail and nature trails plus a picnic shelter and wetlands. Rocky Fork runs through the park, which is a partnership with New Albany, the City of Columbus and Plain Township.

Scioto Audubon Metro Park Scioto Audubon park.JPG
Scioto Audubon Metro Park

Scioto Audubon

The most urban of the Metro Parks, Scioto Audubon is located in the Brewery District near Downtown Columbus. The park is a major bird migration stopover, and as such hosts the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Opened in 2008, the park is situated on a peninsula stretching into the Scioto River and contains numerous wetland areas. Other features include multi-use trail connection to the north and south, a climbing wall, and an old water tower with an overlook deck.

Scioto Grove

Located in Grove City, Ohio, the 19th Metro Park opened in May 2016 and features five backpacking sites as well as seven miles of trails through woods and along the river.

Sharon Woods

Named for Sharon Township where it is located, this park is among the most frequently visited. The park also includes the 320-acre (130 ha) Edward S. Thomas Nature Preserve containing eight different species of old growth oak trees, some more than 250 years old. The northern part of the nature preserve contains the Spring Hollow Outdoor Education Center lands. The ravine bottom around Spring Creek has a multitude of different trees including various sycamore, butternut, black walnut, Ohio buckeye, pawpaw and red elm. The southern part of the nature preserve which contains several trails and an observation deck contains fields, and meadows accompanying forests such as oak-hickory association with scattered beech with a recovering elm-ash swamp forest including red elm, with white, green and blue ash trees. [20]

Schrock Lake provides fishing opportunities as well as ample opportunities for bird watching. A multi-use trail runs along the perimeter of the park. along with 4 additional designated trails that traverse various areas of Sharon Woods Metro Park.

Slate Run

Slate Run Living Historical Farm 03.jpg
Slate Run Living Historical Farm 01.jpg
Barn and farmhouse at Slate Run Living Historical Farm

South of Canal Winchester, Slate Run Metro Park's most notable feature is an 1880s-era working historical farm staffed by volunteers. Visitors can see 19th century farm life, interact with the farm animals, and learn about canning and meat preservation. Other parts of the park include extensive hiking trails and a restored wetland area.

Three Creeks

Managed in cooperation with the City of Columbus, Three Creeks is located near Groveport and Bexley. Along the confluence trail, visitors can see where Alum, Big Walnut and Blacklick Creeks merge. Picnic areas, lakes, and extensive trails round out the features of this park.

Walnut Woods

Opened in 2011, this park encompasses a former tree nursery. Located just east of the village of Groveport, Walnut Woods also includes two dog parks - one for large dogs and one for small dogs. Wetland restoration is ongoing in the central part of the park.

Future

Columbus Metro Parks is continuing to expand with more acquisitions of land. One such expansion is in Blendon Township and is planned to remain rustic and primitive. The land currently under the management team from Blendon Woods Metro Park. [21]

Metro Parks has also been working to restore a privately owned stone quarry and old landfill no longer in use transforming the property. Quarry Trails Metro Park will be located within Columbus on the west side of the Scioto River, between Griggs Dam and Downtown Columbus. A Metro Parks notice about this park listed the following "Hiking, biking, picnicking, fishing and other traditional activities associated with the park system will be offered along with other more adventurous challenges such as climbing and paddle boarding." An official opening date has yet to be announced. [22]

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Big Darby Creek River

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Camp Chase Trail

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Kiser Lake Wetlands State Nature Preserve

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scioto Audubon Metro Park</span> Park and nature preserve in Columbus, Ohio, U.S.

Scioto Audubon Metro Park is a public park and nature preserve in Columbus, Ohio. The park is managed by the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks and is part of the Scioto Mile network of parks and trails around Downtown Columbus. The park features numerous trails, wetlands, rock climbing, volleyball and bocce courts, and numerous other amenities. At the western edge is the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, considered the first nature center built in close proximity to a downtown area.

Slate Run Metro Park Park and nature preserve in Pickaway County, Ohio

Slate Run Metro Park is a public park and nature preserve in Madison Township in Pickaway County, Ohio. The park is managed by the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks in the Columbus metropolitan area. The park features numerous trails through grasslands, wetlands, forests, and meadows. The park's main water feature is Buzzard's Roost Lake, while nearby Slate Run Creek passes through the park. Amenities include picnic areas and shelters, boardwalks and fishing docks, and several sets of play equipment.

Highbanks Metro Park Park and nature preserve in Lewis Center, Ohio, U.S.

Highbanks Metro Park is a metropolitan park in Central Ohio, owned and operated by Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. The park is named for its steep banks along the Olentangy River, the park's most unique feature. Highbanks also features ten trails, picnic space, a nature center, sledding hill, and nature preserve. It also includes numerous ancient burial mounds and earthworks from the indigenous Adena culture.

Blacklick Woods Metro Park Park and nature preserve in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, U.S.

Blacklick Woods Metro Park is a metropolitan park in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, owned and operated by Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. The park was established in 1948, the first park in the Metro Park system. It was named a National Natural Landmark in 1974.

Pickerington Ponds Metro Park Park and nature preserve in Central Ohio, U.S.

Pickerington Ponds Metro Park is a metropolitan park in Pickerington and Columbus, Ohio, owned and operated by Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. The park has 1,608 acres (651 ha) with several trails and five overlooks for bird and other wildlife watching. It is a State Nature Preserve, primarily focused on providing a habitat for various birds and contains many wetland areas. Pickerington Ponds is designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Ohio. More than 260 species of birds have been seen here.

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park Park and nature preserve in Central Ohio, U.S.

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park is a metropolitan park in Central Ohio, owned and operated by Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. The park is within the Pleasant and Prairie townships, southwest of Columbus. It is the largest park in the Metro Parks system, with 7,103 acres (2,874 ha).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Quarry Trails Metro Park</span> Park and nature preserve in Central Ohio, U.S.

Quarry Trails Metro Park is a 220-acre (89 ha) metropolitan park in Columbus, Ohio, owned and operated by Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. The park opened on November 30, 2021, as Central Ohio's 20th metro park. Portions of the park remained under construction, although 200 acres opened, including a 25-foot waterfall, trails, boardwalks, and a zipline.

References

  1. "Metro Parks – About Us". metroparks.net. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  2. "Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park". trails.com. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  3. "Battelle Darby Creek - Metro Parks - Central Ohio Park System". metroparks.net. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  4. Wilde, Renee (2021-05-25). "Baby Bison Welcomed To Restored Metro Park Prairie Habitat". WYSO. Retrieved 2021-05-27.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. O'Donnell, Waylon (September 8, 2020). "American bison are gone from Ohio's ecosystem, but can they be reintroduced?". Ashland Source. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  6. Lecker, Kelly. "Bison born at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, just in time for Mother's Day". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  7. "Blacklick Woods - Metro Parks - Central Ohio Park System". metroparks.net. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  8. Preserves, ODNR Division of Natural Areas and. "Tucker, Walter (Blacklick Woods)". naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  9. "Ohio eBird Hotspots - Blacklick Woods Metro Park". ohioebirdhotspots.wikispaces.com. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  10. "Blacklick Woods Golf Course - Metro Parks". Metro Parks - Central Ohio Park System. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  11. "National Natural Landmarks - National Natural Landmarks (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov. Retrieved 2019-03-26. Year designated: 1974
  12. "Chestnut Ridge - Metro Parks - Central Ohio Park System". metroparks.net. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  13. "GLACIER RIDGE OPENS SUNDAY - New Metro Park boasts multiuse trails". The Columbus Dispatch. September 21, 2002. Retrieved 2022-08-31.
  14. "National Natural Landmarks - National Natural Landmarks (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov. Retrieved 2019-03-26. Year designated: 1980
  15. "Pickerington Ponds - Metro Parks - Central Ohio Park System". metroparks.net. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  16. "Pickerington Ponds". audubon.org. 12 September 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  17. "PRAIRIE OAKS MANAGER FLIES SOLO IN NEWEST METRO PARK". The Columbus Dispatch. December 3, 2000. Retrieved 2022-08-31.
  18. 1 2 Ellis, Andrea Reeves, Mark Ferenchik and Nate. "Quarry Trails Metro Park is now open: 5 things to know about the new park". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  19. "Marble Cliff Quarry" (PDF). Northwest History Express. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  20. Preserves, ODNR Division of Natural Areas and. "Thomas, Edward (Sharon Woods)". naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  21. Ferenchik, Mark (23 February 2018). "Metro Parks secures pristine land in northeastern Franklin County". dispatch.com. The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  22. "Project QT". metroparks.net. Retrieved 26 February 2018.