Published: Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Big plans brewing for Trumbull parks
A second canoe and kayak trail is planned for the
eastern part of the county.
By ED RUNYAN
WARREN Wintertime and natural attractions will develop at two large northwestern Trumbull County parks, a 23-mile canoe and kayak trail will blossom along the Mahoning River, and new recreational opportunities will spring up in the eastern part of county if the suggestions from about 20 volunteer parks committee members are adopted.
The volunteers met about four times each in October and November to suggest the best ways to use 932 acres in 15 locations now owned by the county MetroParks board or being acquired, most of it purchased in recent years with grants approved in the past four years by the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund.
The meetings were organized by Jonathan Millea, whom the county hired in June to write the county's first parks master plan. Millea, who works for the county planning commission, says he plans to complete the master plan, incorporating the suggestions of the committee members, by March.
The largest park property the county has acquired in recent years is the 270-acre parcel at Girdle and Larson West roads just north of the village of West Farmington. Committee members think the area could be a popular winter attraction for cross country skiing or hiking or mountain biking in warmer weather.
Millea noted that the land is only about 40 minutes from Cleveland and could draw people from that area. It is on Swine Creek, which also runs through a Geauga County MetroPark just a few miles east of there.
The nearby 100-acre Mesopotamia Township parcel acquired in 2006 would probably be best used as an animal preserve, where visitors could look at wildlife, Millea said.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the parks plan revolves around the many park properties on the Mahoning River and the opportunity to establish a canoe and kayak trail through the county's southwestern and central quadrant.
Upon completion, the trail would run 23 miles from Foster Park in Newton Township north through Newton Falls, east to a newly acquired property in Braceville Township park near the Ohio Turnpike; to Thomas A. Swift park in Brace-ville Township; to Canoe City in Warren Township; to small parks at Woodview Circle and Lynwood Drive Northwest (near Burbank Park), all in Warren Township; then to Packard Park in Warren.
Millea said he already has plans for holding an outing in the spring to identify the locations of all the trees that are blocking the river.
After tree falls are removed, Millea hopes the canoe trail can be opened in stages. For instance, one of the first trails would be the four miles from Swift park to Canoe City, Millea said.
In the interest of finding recreational opportunities for the eastern side of the county, committee members are hopeful a second canoe and kayak trail can be established at the state line just east of Orangeville along Pymatuning Creek. It would run from the state line north toward Kinsman.
Though there are no MetroParks in the southeastern part of the county, committee members hope the county will continue to explore opportunities there, Millea said.
Camping is being suggested for two new parks in Braceville Township the Thomas A. Swift and Braceville nature preserve near the Ohio Turnpike.
Millea said lots of grants are available to improve the parks, but it requires staff time to apply for them. Until funding sources are available, alternative plans are being developed for improving the parks.
For instance, in places where walking trails are being proposed, it may be necessary to build them with limestone or earth at first and pave them later.
Little is planned yet for a 61.5-acre parcel behind the Super Wal-Mart on state Route 5 in Bazetta Township that officials expect to acquire this year. The property is mostly wetlands.
Likewise, little is planned yet for a 4-acre parcel on Four-Mile Run, a creek in Weathersfield Township near the Mahoning County line that the county acquired recently.