This week’s Nature Fix comes from West Creek Conservancy’s Board of Directors  member Mike Mohlenkamp.

Making Nature Your Neighbor

We are all together in getting through these tumultuous times. It has become imperative to connect to, and experience Nature if physically or virtually. Throughout Northeast Ohio there are gems to enjoy that are “low risk”, can help you get that breath of fresh air that you deserve, and will connect you to the natural world in which we live. Join us as we continue our journey to explore sites throughout our region and get our weekly West Creek Wednesday: Nature Fix! Together, we’ll explore some well-known trails and hidden gems we think you’ll be excited to learn more about.

The Hike: Towner’s Woods Park

All the recent time working and schooling at home can make my family a bit stir-crazy, so on a beautiful spring afternoon in April my two oldest children and I decided to go on a long hike.  Parks, hikes, and nature have always been important to my family and our children have grown up with our frequent family “nature walks”.  We try to pick a different park as often as possible so that we have the opportunity to see many of the beautiful locations in Northeast Ohio.  On this day, we decided to go to Towner’s Woods Park in Franklin Township near Kent.

One reason we chose this park is because West Creek Conservancy (WCC) recently partnered with the Portage Park District on a Clean Ohio Greenspace Fund grant to acquire and protect 12.7 acres of woods and wetlands to add to the 245 acre Towner’s Woods Park.  You may be surprised at how often WCC partners with park systems in Northeast Ohio to conserve natural habitats and expand opportunities for all of us to experience nature.  The donations you make as members play a big part in ensuring that can happen.  As a WCC board member, the WCC connection with Towner’s Woods Park made me that much more interested in exploring this park.  I am very glad we did so as it met all our expectations with a series of long and winding trails through hills, wetlands, and along Lake Pippen.

Spring is just beginning, so the trees were still bare, and we could see far through the woods.  Yet new life was starting to come forth with spring flowers and many different types of singing birds.  We were also treated to a chorus from the spring peepers as we passed by the wetland areas.  We paused at one location for a few minutes to let the chorus return to full volume and take an audio clip so my daughter could share it with her friends on the “Green Team” (recycling and conservation team) at her high school.

The walk along the lake was equally enjoyable as the wind caused ripples along the water and provided a sense of peace.  As we explored wherever the trails would take us (using the left-turn-always approach to extend the walk to its full extent), we also discovered a rock at the top of a hill on Eagle Trail that provided some history on Towner Mound.  We learned that we were at a Hopewell Native American burial mound, a fascinating bit of history tucked away within the park.

As we usually do when walking the park trails, we brought a bag to pick up any trash found along the way.  I encourage this habit for all park visitors as we can all do our small part in helping to keep our parks and natural habitats clean.  I’m happy to report that there was very little trash to pick up along these trails and that the trails themselves were very well maintained.  After several hours enjoying nature and the variety of trails at Towner’s Woods, we left refreshed, revived, and ready for another few days at home.  If you need a break and are in the area, I highly recommend a visit to Towner’s Woods Park.

Towner’s Woods Park Gallery: Our Hike