A park I've always know was there, but never ventured to explore. At the end of a dirt road beyond the skate park, beyond various industries, sits Grosjean Park.
No maps, no information, just a blank kiosk with a sign letting you know you've arrived.
When we went it was fantastically overgrown, so we picked a direction and started walking. Soon we came upon a beaten path leading us past various posts with numbers (possibly remnants from years past as campsite markers? In doing research I couldn't find any evidence of public camping in the park. If you have any info on this please share!) following the path lead us down to the creek, Apple Creek to be precise. The wide but shallow creek stumbling over stones as it travels round twists and turns ultimately ends up joining Killbuck Creek by Blachleyville Rd. We then left the creek and headed back up the trail, I kept noticing a plant which seemed to blanket the banks, the bushes, really anywhere there was ample light, it wasn't virginia creeper nor was it kudzu, after looking into it it's in fact Japanese Hops, a noxious weed meaning it is not only invasive but it is detrimental to the natural balance of an area. We continued on through the woods, along the creek, over logs, until we came upon a group of houses and turned back. The trail along the other way (walking towards the skatepark) is more well manicured, opening from the trees to a beach like area. Sand and stones frame the creek around sharp turns. It is a very beautiful area.
Why is the park so overgrown?
It's not necessarily a park for hiking, the main focus of this green area is as a trout release area for the organization Trout Unlimited (more on the Clear Fork River TU Chapter here) . This is a hotspot for fly fishermen (catch & release) and is a pretty well known area in those groups. Therefore there's very little need for trail maintenance as most use the water to travel in their waders.
How did the park come to be?
In August 2001, Alice (Grosjean) donated 86 acres of land to the City of Wooster to be used as a park and nature trail. She wanted it to be named "Grosjean Park" in honor of her husband (George).
Driving down rt 30 towards Wooster before you get to the Madison Ave exit, look to your right, all those trees, that creek, the meadow are all part of Grosjean Park.
Item of notoriety -
In researching this topic I came across a fascinating document "Wooster Envisioned - Comprehensive Plan 2014" this document is of extreme importance as it lays out the plan to improve Wooster as a city and how it is to move forward.
I bring it up as one of the key areas it focuses on is the Little Apple Creek - Grosjean Park area.
"Parks & recreational services are often regarded as unimportant in city budgets because their cost exceeds their direct revenue. The benefits of parks and recreation services are instead measured by the social and economic impacts on the surrounding area and the community as a whole." - This is why it is so very important to get involved, volunteer whenever you can!
Work with local groups such as the OARDC or Trout Unlimited to make improvements to Grosjean Park that will enhance access and serve as a destination for environmental education and/or outdoor recreation.
The proximity of Grosjean Park to the Little Apple Creek and Downtown make it a very valuable space for enhancements. By partnering with local groups, the City can use this space to educate while enhancing the function of the park itself. The advancement of the park will establish it as a destination and resource.
Ensure new development near Little Apple Creek maintains naturalized, publicly accessible, passive park space.
Little Apple Creek is one of Wooster's best natural assets and should be preserved at all costs. The area should be used as an asset to the whole community by making sure it is accessible to the public and undeveloped. Creating a bike path along the Creek will make it more attractive to residents while ensuring the area does not get developed.
-Objective PR.5 - Protect and enhance the Little Apple Creek greenway.
Action PR.5.1 - Protect the riparian areas along the Creek.
Action PR.5.2 - Create new recreational and educational amenities and activities along the Creek.
Action PR.5.3 - Support the creation of a "Friends of the Little Apple Creek" group for fundraising and volunteer labor, promotion, and security.
Action PR.5.4 - Work with Trout Unlimited to create or attract an angling or conservation event.
These are just overviews of the document, more information can be found at the links below.
The entire comprehensive plan can be found here (copy and paste full website into browser window)-
The chapter on Parks & Recreation can be found here (copy and paste full website into browser window)-
There's a lot of potential for this great natural resource, keep an eye on it for great things to come!
All images are property of Emily Speelman and Emily Speelman Photography 2015
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Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who spends her time exploring and learning about the unique history and nature in North East Ohio. She lives with her husband and cat in Wooster where she is also a family portrait and nature photographer as well as grows and cans her own vegetables. When she's not doing that, yoga and embroidery (not at the same time) are other things she enjoys.