WESTERVILLE – Char-Mar Ridge Park is in the process of expanding, but what is already there makes for an enjoyable visit for children and adults alike.
For the kiddos, there’s what is known as a natural playground. A path near the entrance goes around tree stumps, wooden benches, and a pile of wood. With a little imagination, these rustic materials become the stuff of adventure. A small creek runs nearby, and a busload of children from a local daycare were checking it out on a recent visit.
For the adults, there’s a gravel Glacier Ridge Trail that goes up, down, and around for a 1.5-mile loop. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trail. While it makes for a convenient workout spot complete with signs offering assorted calisthenics, there’s two bonuses.
First is a wildlife blind that offers water views of a pond that empties into Hoover Reservoir Inlet. The blind has descriptions of the birds and wildlife that inhabit the park, along with some bird feeders. Bring your binoculars and patience — the quieter you are and longer you wait, the more you may be rewarded.
Second, as the loop nears completion, visitors will see a sign that points to the adjacent Ohio-to-Erie Trail (OTET). For those who wish to do a section at a time, this is a convenient spot just off of state Route 3 with a small parking lot. The 128-acre Char-Mar Ridge Park is located at 7741 Lewis Center Road.
In August, it was announced in The Gazette that Preservation Parks had purchased an additional 21.5 acres bordering OTET, south of Lewis Center Road, across from the main entrance. The land acquition brings Char-Mar’s size up to 150 acres. A parks spokesperson said native grass and flower planting on the new addition would take place following the fall field harvest. Native trees and shrubs will be planted in the spring, and wetlands may be restored.
Additional gravel trails, and a pedestrian connector to the current park entrance are planned for the addition. No opening date has been set for the new section.
“We’re excited to purchase this additional piece of property to expand Char-Mar Ridge Park,” said Tom Curtin, executive director of Preservation Parks, in a statement. “This park has seen increased visitation, especially with the onset of COVID-19, and this new acreage will better accommodate a growing number of visitors in Genoa Township.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.