By: Bill O’Connell
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
If you are a bike enthusiast, enjoy the great outdoors and live in the Swanton area, your world is about to become a whole lot more fun. Oak Openings Preserve, by far the largest of the twelve Toledo Metroparks with over 4000 acres has recently purchased 500 acres of property just off of Airport Highway on the west side of State Route 64.
Part of the newly acquired land will be used for an eleven-mile single track mountain bike trail, the first of its kind for the Metro Parks and will be a great compliment to the Wabash-Cannon Ball Trail, the double-forked paved bike path that connects Side Cut, Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Oak Openings.
“Bicycling is huge right now. It was actually mountain bikers who came to us looking for a place,” said Scott Carpenter, Metroparks director of public relations, explaining part of the motivation for the project. “In the last couple of years we’ve been reaching into new areas to provide new opportunities for outdoor recreation. We’re trying to tach people to use their parks.”
The project has already begun and, at this point it is estimated they are closing in on two miles completed as the fall season approaches. To finish the trail sometime in 2017 will require grant funding and a great deal of volunteer work. “We have worked with many of the local bike shops and have sort of issued a challenge,” said Mr. Carpenter. “We said if you’re interested we’ll have it professionally designed but we need volunteers to create the trail. We’ll need about 1000 volunteer hours to do it.”
Currently, bikers, walkers and runners who drive to the park are using the Spring Brook parking lot on SR 64. However, depending on the popularity of the new trail, an additional parking lot with restroom facilities may be built on the north side of the Swanton Reservoir. “As the trail grows the usage will grow,” Mr. Carpenter believes.
“How many spaces is hard to say but it is scalable. If we have an overwhelming response, we can make it bigger.” Anyone interested in volunteering for this project or would like more information on the Metroparks can go online at metroparkstoledo.com or call 419407-9700.
Bill O’Connell may be reached at