Autumn Adventure offers Metroparks explorationWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
“Metroparks owns the fall.”
So said director of Public Relations Scott Carpenter while describing the Metroparks of Toledo Area’s more than 100 miles of trails.
“It’s the place to be to see all the fall colors, which are truly one of the best things about living in Northwest Ohio,” he said. “Not every place has fall colors. We get the luxury of taking it for granted but most of the world doesn’t experience fall colors.”
Autumn Adventure will take place Sept. 1 to Nov. 18.
For more than 25 years, the Metroparks has sponsored Autumn Adventure, which was created to appreciate the fall season. The program serves as motivation to walk the numerous trails available at the parks in Lucas County: Farnsworth Metropark, Oak Openings Preserve,
Pearson Metropark, Providence Metropark, Secor Metropark, Side Cut Metropark, Swan Creek Preserve and Wildwood Preserve.
Carpenter said the program showcases the best of the parks during the best time of year.
“It provides a great excuse to exercise,” he said. “You don’t even have to think of it as exercising.”
The Metroparks will provide an Autumn Adventure Trail Record, which recommends 10 trails in the area. People can pick one up at any Metropark or online at metroparkstoledo.com/metro. To complete the Autumn Adventure Trail Record, people walk, jog, rollerblade or bike (if permitted) trails and record the date.
After completing eight trails, participants can turn in the form and purchase a $14 long-sleeved t-shirt. The first 50 people to finish their Autumn Adventure Record will receive a T-shirt for free.
One of the trails suggested is the 1.5-mile-long Wood Duck Trail at Side Cut Metropark. According to a brochure, it is an “adventure through a floodplain woods of cottonwoods, basswoods and black locust ringing a shallow lagoon formed in a portion of the old Side Cut Canal bed.”
The other suggested trails include Indianola Shelter to Towpath Trailhead at Farnsworth, Evergreen Trail at Oak Openings, Upland Woods Trail at Wildwood, Black Swamp Trail at Pearson, North Trail Loop at Swan Creek, Trillium Trail at Secor and Kimble’s Landing to Providence Dam at Providence.
The Metroparks has also included two new trails, including Quarry Trail Loop at Blue Creek Conservation Area. Carpenter said it’s not yet opened as a Metropark bu a small area that includes a trail and quarry recently opened.
“It’s a neat place with a lot of history,” he said.
The other new trail is the Oregon Parks Trail at Pearson Metropark, a 4.4-mile bike trail. It just opened this month as a partnership with the City of Oregon. Participants are not required to stick to the trails recommended by the program; they can choose up to four others of their preference.
“The idea is not for you to jump through hoops, it’s to get you to come out and enjoy the parks on your terms,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter added that some people will finish eight trails in the first week.
“Others, like me, will take the whole time,” he said. “It depends somewhat on your motivation but I think more on your available time.”
T-shirts and coyotes
Each year, the Autumn Adventure T-shirts have a different design. This year’s shirt features a coyote howling to the moon. Carpenter said there’s been an increased interest in coyotes recently.
“I don’t really have any proof … but we’ve been hearing that people are seeing them more,” Carpenter said.
Coyotes have been in the area’s parks for a while, he said.
“They probably live in every Metropark, they live in every county in Ohio and every state in the lower 48,” Carpenter said. “They’re everywhere.”
Carpenter said coyotes are fascinating, which is why the animal was chosen as a symbol for the program.
“People seem to want to know more about them,” he said. “We’ve gotten a lot of questions about coyotes lately for some reason. There’s been one around Wildwood that’s been more visible than typical. People have been seeing him a lot. Everyone but me seems to see him.”
Carpenter said coyotes pose no threat and he hasn’t heard of any conflicts with them in the parks. He added that they eat rodents.
“There’s also a tiny bit of fear,” Carpenter said. “People’s ears usually perk up when they hear that we have coyotes. It’s nice to be able to feature it and, if it’s an issue for people, let’s hit it head-on and talk about it … break the myth from the facts. They’re much more afraid of us than we are of them so they tend to make themselves scarce.”
The parks will sponsor some guided walks during the next couple of months. The walks will be led by Metroparks naturalists and are free of charge (except the Audubon Island Canoe Paddle).
“We all know about the fall colors, but a naturalist will be able to point out where you’ll see some of the first colors — color changes along the edges of the woods and along the rivers,” Carpenter said. “They’ll be able to show you things like spider webs and other signs of fall that you may not think about.”
Two of the guided walks will deal with coyotes, in response to the recent interest: “Coexisting with Coyotes” and “Especially for Families: Coyote Tales On Twilight Trails.” The final walk, “Metroparks Mutts: Howl-n-Prowl Autumn Adventure,” invites walkers to bring their dogs on the hike.
Reservations are required for the guided walks. Visit metroparkstoledo.com or call (419) 407-9701 to do so.
The guided walks include:
- Autumn Adventure Kick Off. Side Cut Metropark, Lamb Center: 2-3 p.m. Sept. 1
- Oak Openings Sand Dunes Track Trek. Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, Sand Dunes: 10-11 a.m. Sept. 12.
- Canal Days Bridge Walk. Providence Metropark, dam area parking lot: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 14.
- Full Moon Walk. Wildwood Preserve, Metz Visitor Center: 8-9:30 p.m. Sept. 19.
- Audubon Island Canoe Paddle. Perrysburg (details when making reservations): 2-4 p.m. Sept. 21 $10 ($8 for members).
- Dew at Dawn. In Wildwood’s Prairies: Wildwood Preserve, Metz Visitor Center: 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 4
- Meadow Glory. Swan Creek Preserve, Yager Center: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 9.
- New Oregon Parks Trail. Pearson Metropark: 2-3 p.m. Oct. 13 Limited to 30 people.
- 4-Mile Bend View Hike. Farns-worth, Boat launch area: 9:30-10:30 a.m. Oct. 19
- Coexisting with Coyotes. Wildwood Preserve, Metroparks Hall: 2-4 p.m. Oct. 20.
- Especially For Families: Coyote Tales on Twilight Trails. Pearson Metropark, Packer-Hammersmith Center: 4:30-6 p.m. Nov. 7.
- Red Lanterns. Secor Metropark, NCNP parking lot: 10-11:30 a.m. Nov. 16.
- Metroparks Mutts: Howl-n-Prowl Autumn Adventure: Wildwood Preserve, Metz Visitor Center: 7-8 p.m. Nov. 17.