COLUMBUS, Ohio — The 20th park in the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks system will be unlike the rest.
During a recent tour of the grounds, Public Information Manager Peg Hanley told The Gazette that Quarry Trails Metro Park will combine the activities of traditional parks and the adventure sports many of today’s outdoor enthusiasts are demanding.
True to its name, Quarry Trails sits on the site of the former limestone Marble Cliff Quarry. Shelly and Sands is still actively mining nearby, where limestone was used to build Ohio Stadium and the statehouse. Old gravestones have been discovered close by. The water elements at one time formed an unofficial swimming hole for Ohio State students. New homes are now starting to pop up in the area, as well.
“Wagenbrenner Development will build a variety of mixed-use properties close-by, so residents are only a stone’s throw away from this natural wonderland,” Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks said.
Quarry Trails is along Quarry Trails Drive, which may be too new for the GPS. It is along the west bank of the Scioto River near the intersection of Dublin and Trabue roads, next to San Margherita. Despite being near Upper Arlington and Norwich Township, park staff said deer, coyote, fox, eagles, and many beavers have been spotted in the park.
When completed, visitors will be able to fish, paddle board, canoe or kayak at the lake. Permanent floating docks built by the Amish have been installed, and a parking lot near the docks should be finished soon. All told, there will be 180 acres in all at the park.
A prominent feature is already completed, since Quarry Trails is the only Metro Park with its own waterfall. A short walk from an already-paved parking lot leads to an observation deck and limestone steps (from the quarry, of course) lead down to the ground level of the 25-foot tall waterfall, which has its own sort of grotto. The tranquil sound of the water falling drowns out the construction and urban noise.
Quarry Trails will have a single-track mountain bike trail with downhill runs, jumps, ramps and other obstacles. One jump off a rocky base is 25 feet down. Hanley said mountain bikers in the area are looking to test their riding skills on the course.
Planning, design and construction is still underway at the park, so there isn’t a firm opening date.
“A grand opening for the Phase 1/Southern Basins area of Quarry Trails Metro Park will not occur in 2021,” Hanley said in an email. “The delay is one of the many side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that have impacted construction. We anticipate having some activity for visitors this fall … Look for updates about the park and upcoming activities on Quarry Trails on Metro Parks web site, Instagram and Twitter.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.