As the dog days of summer come to an end, Seneca County Park District is a perfect place to visit as temperatures cool down and the leaves start to turn as summer turns to autumn.
Whether you're looking for a paved track like at Opportunity Park or an equestrian trail like at Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve, our county parks system has everything you could ask for in an outdoor adventure.
Sarah Betts, Executive Director of the Seneca County Park District said during this year, she has noticed a major impact on the park, as people are getting outdoors and walking the trails. When it comes to the parks, each one brings a different attraction to the table. Betts said each trail has a different level of difficulty.
Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve is the oldest park, and is the most popular due to the preschool and the log home on the grounds, Betts said. Steyer Nature Preserve is large, has much natural diversity, and has river access, which makes it popular as well.
Visitors can see the geological history of the region on many of the slopes in the Tiffin University Nature Preserve, along with fossils and the possibility of finding Native American artifacts, which are rare, and Betts says visitors are encouraged to look but not touch.
While Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve and Steyer Nature Preserve are the most popular parks in the system, Betts said that there are hidden gems among the others, including Opportunity Park.
She said she is proud of the collaboration with the Opportunity Center on that park and looks forward to improvement projects to that location in the near future.
Visitors can also participate in a number of ongoing park programs like the Walking Stick Program and Walk & Wread. Three hikes are offered each month through the Walking Stick program, including a nature walk bird talk at Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve, a full moon hike, and a themed hike at another preserve. Attending four gets participants a walking stick, and every other four hikes, participants receive a medallion.
Once a month, visitors can walk the Storybook Trail at Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve for a new story, and after six books, participants receive a prize. Other programs are listed on their website.
As they look forward to the 25th anniversary next year, Betts said they are considering events and activities such as special tree plantings, hikes, programs, and identification projects. Other current updates include a new logo and a new website, rolled out this year.
Betts encourages residents and visitors alike to go out and get fresh air, and they are not requiring masks outdoors, as physical distancing can be achieved.
Right now, playgrounds, exercise stations, shelters, and other amenities are closed, but the parks themselves remain open to promote physical and mental health during the pandemic.
"You should feel healthier when you leave," Betts said.
Read more about the parks in the sidebar, or visit senecacountyparks.com for more!
Seneca County Parks
Bowen Nature Preserve, 11891 E. CR 24 Republic
Clinton Nature Preserve, 400 E. Township Road 132, Tiffin
Forrest Nature Preserve, 701 E. CR 6, Tiffin
Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve, 6777 S. SR 19, Bloomville
Geary YMCA Fruth Outdoor Center, 10130 W. SR 18, Fostoria
Mercy Community Nature Preserve, 45 St. Lawrence Drive, Tiffin
Opportunity Park, 780 E. CR 20, Tiffin
Steyer Nature Preserve, 5901 N. CR 33, Tiffin
Tiffin University Nature Preserve, 2375 W. CR 26, Tiffin
Zimmerman Nature Preserve, 680 E. SR 18, Tiffin