Despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, or maybe because of it, Preservation Parks of Delaware County is enjoying a boost in attendance.
The announcement was made during a virtual board meeting on July 17 by Executive Director Thomas Curtin.
“People are discovering the parks through the pandemic,” Curtin said. “Shale Hollow has been so busy they have implemented a mask program.”
Shale Hollow is located off of U.S. Route 23 in Lewis Center. It is normally open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. through October. The park district’s website states, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, peak visiting hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The park is usually at capacity, which means when one car leaves then one more may enter. Please plan your visit accordingly, and enjoy the natural beauty of Shale Hollow Park!”
Page views for Shale Hollow on the Parks’ website has doubled, also.
In addition, trail counting shows that three times more people are using the Sandel Legacy Trail in Sunbury than they were a year ago.
“There were no problems reopening restrooms and playgrounds,” Curtin said. Both amenities were closed at all parks temporarily during the pandemic.
Board action included awarding contracts for construction of a portion of the Ohio to Erie Trail, parking lot expansions at Galena’s Char Mar (which was called another popular park in the system) and Shale Hollow, and McCammon Creek stream restoration.
Departmental reports included updates on a new aviary and outdoor turtle enclosure at Deer Haven Park, ice cream making and hay production at Gallant Farm, reforestation at the new McCammon Creek, erosion repair at Emily Traphagen, construction at the new Hickory Woods, and design for a new shelter at Shale Hollow. It was also noted that a hickory tree fell on the district office at Hogback Ridge in Sunbury during a recent storm.
Finally, there was discussion about updating the Preservation Parks logo. The current logo is birds flying around two trees, and the new logo would be a fox with a leaf-like tail. Volunteer Steve Berry said he felt the expense of implementing a new logo was unnecessary and trivial during a pandemic. Curtin said reaction to the new logo was “very positive.”
The board did not take action on the logo, said a parks spokesperson. The decision was left to staff, who will pause to reflect on the implementation of the logo.
“Preservation Parks is committed to preserving Delaware County’s natural areas, which are home to thousands of native plant and animal species and are special places for people,” states the park district’s website. “Preservation Parks is funded primarily by property tax dollars approved by voters of Delaware County. Tax revenue is augmented by federal and state grants, along with contributions of land, materials, equipment and time from donors and volunteers.”
For more information, visit www.preservationparks.com.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.