MIAMI COUNTY — It may be chilly outside, but that’s no reason to avoid a small hike through one of the over a dozen parks in the Miami County Park District.
“We’re open every day, and we have use every day,” Director Scott Myers of the Miami County Park District said. “We get quite a bit of traffic.”
The park district is nearing one million visits to its park system this year. Whether the weather is in the 50s or 60s as it is projected to be this weekend or whether winter weather takes hold later, the parks remain a popular place to take a break and enjoy nature.
“When there’s snow on the ground, our parks are absolutely gorgeous,” Myers said.
Once snow returns, a number of Miami County’s parks are suited for winter weather activities, like cross country skiing. At Stillwater Pairie, Myers said there is a popular sledding hill.
Myers said that Charleston Falls Preserve and the Hobart Urban Nature Preserve are popular sites for winter hikes. Charleston Falls, located at 2535 Ross Road, Tipp City, has over 216 acres of prairie and forests and nearly four miles of trails in addition to its popular waterfall. The Hobart Urban Nature Preserve, located at 1400 Tyrone Road, Troy, has over two miles of trails and over 80 acres of land that feature open grasslands, a wetland, and four welded steel modernist sculptures that were donated from the collection of the Hobart Welding Institute.
Another “hidden gem” is Maple Ridge Reserve, Myers said, which has 120 acres of rolling hills with over two miles of trails.
“It is really beautiful in the winter,” Myers said, adding that Maple Ridge features clear views of its hills in the winter time. Its topography includes hills and woods that cover 70 percent of the land, including a sugar maple grove and sugar camp. Maple Ridge, located at 10430 State Route 185, Covington, is along the Stillwater River and also has a fishing pond and two wildlife ponds.
There are also special considerations when comes to taking a hike in the winter.
“Dress in layers,” Myers said, suggesting gloves and hats. “Make sure you stay warm.” Myers said it is important to be prepared and dress for being cold as hikers may be separated from their vehicles for an extended period of time. Myers added that hikers should wear proper footwear, such as hiking boots or shoes, as it might get slippery out on the trails.
For more information about Miami County’s parks, visit www.miamicountyparks.com.
Another hikeable resource in Miami County is the Brukner Nature Center, located at 5995 Horseshoe Bend Rd., Troy. Brukner Nature Center offers six miles of nature trails — including 12 different trails through woods, wetlands, and prairie — where hikers can watch for wildlife. Trails are open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset, but pets are not allowed. The cost for admission is $2.50 per person or $10 a family, which includes trails and access to the building. For more information or to download a trail map, visit www.bruknernaturecenter.com.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2019 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.