Fairborn Daily Herald
CLARK COUNTY — Preservation of an important natural gem in Clark County will soon be a reality as the Clark County Park District expands the parks. The Park District recently acquired a 16-acre property located on Dayton-Springfield Road, formerly known as the Clearview Mobile Home Park.
It just received a $799,982 Clean Ohio Conservation Fund grant to assist with the acquisition of an additional 78 acres that includes the natural rock cliffs on either side of the Mad River. Preliminary plans for the new park include cliff climbing, nature exploration, hiking trails and access to the Mad River for boating, fishing and research opportunities. Acquiring this property will help protect the valuable Mad River corridor, allowing native species of wildlife and plants to thrive.
The acquisition of this land was made possible through collaboration with many community partners. The Park District met with leaders from other Clark County organizations to plan this future park. The Access Fund, a national organization that supports and promotes natural climbing cliffs, and their local chapter, the Ohio Climbers Coalition (OCC), have been instrumental in helping the Park District create a sound plan for public cliff climbing at this site.
The OCC has committed to purchasing the special bolts required for climbers and is anticipating over 2,400 hours of labor to help clean and develop the park. In addition, a local tree company will donate 25 percent of their cost to remove all invasive honeysuckle on the three properties. Donations from land owners, a community philanthropist and the Park District general fund rounds out the remainder of funds needed for the $1.1 million park project.
Canoers, kayakers and fisherman already use this section of the Mad River, but will soon have easier public access to the river. The cliffs on the north and south side of the river may be familiar to area climbers, but once the new site opens, the cliffs will be available for public use. According to members from the Ohio Climbers Coalition, the new park will become a first class rock climbing destination in the Midwest.
Future programs at this site will include wildflower and bird hikes, cliff climbing instruction/demonstrations, canoe/kayak excursions, fishing and environmental research. Hikers can enjoy a variety of wildflower and tree species, as well as access the river for exploration of aquatic life
It is anticipated that the new park will open in late spring 2017. The OCC, Clark County Sheriff Department’s PRIDE program, Park District volunteers and staff are developing a work plan to build and clear paths and trails, remove trash and haul brush away from the site after the properties are acquired. The first major work days are scheduled for May 20-21, 2017 and volunteers are welcome to join in. Future details about this exciting new park area can be found on the Park District’s website at www.clarkcountyparks.org or on Facebook.
For additional information, contact Carol Kennard, Executive Director, Clark County Park District, at 937-882-6000 or [email protected].