As avid hikers, Noah and I have been to many, many, parks, forests, and preserves in our area, yet only last week did we find a 'new' park in our old hometown. -Barnes Preserve-
On Sylvan Rd. just past Secrest Rd. is a small turnoff with a wooden sign letting you know you've arrived. From there, let the adventurer in you take over; a bit of wandering and you'll find the path. Walking through the woods the path opens up and you can see where other people as well as equine have traveled through leading the way around the bend where a pond can be found just off the path. At the pond we were greeted by a choir of squeaking, peeping, and splashing frogs, the day we chose was a bit cloudy, windy, and chilly so not many other animals were out. While at the pond admiring the number of hickory trees and their yearly harvest I found a Hickory Tussock Moth Larva (the white and black caterpillar; about the caterpillar: poisonous to the touch but fun to watch (really though, it'll give you a pretty rough rash)!). From there we continued down the path where we came upon a brilliant bright yellow meadow of goldenrod "The Meadow Scenic Trail" a sign from years past still enduringly braves the elements to inform travelers of their whereabouts. The meadow reveals views of rolling hills and farms as far as the eye can see. Once you near the end of the meadow trail you will find a row of fruit trees and the remains of a barn, the fences still in tact. The end brings you to the Wayne County Care Center, we walked up the road to the park's informational kiosk, but couldn't find a loop back so we walked back up through the meadow (no complaints here, just noting).
In researching this park there are many, many great things in store, a little history of the park first, then feast your eyes on all the great additions soon to come!
History of the park:
The Barnes Preserve land was once part of the Wayne County Care Center's farm and is named after the Barnes family that operated the Care Center for many years.
After the farm at the Wayne County Care Center ended operations...
"The park district was organized in 1991 with three commissioners — Peter Sanford, Libby Bruch and Stewart Simonds. And while Simonds himself put in a few trails and science classes from Triway High School made paths there and put some semblance of a pond, there was no money to do much of anything else. The district made three failed attempts — in 1996, 1998 and 2001 — to pass a 0.25-mill levy. And in 2005, Van Pelt said, the park district lost one of its biggest champions when Simonds died unexpectedly.
In the meantime, a barn on the property was destroyed by fire, taking with it some picnic tables. The 2010 tornado that tore through the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center also hit the preserve, taking 70 trees with it.
But now, with the incorporation of a Friends of the Parks organization and the receipt of several grants, plans to develop the Barnes Preserve for future generations are rolling along. Simonds launched the Friends group in 1999 and it gained nonprofit status the next year. Four years ago, Van Pelt said, the all-volunteer organization was reactivated and now meets monthly alongside the park district’s commissioner. "
(Source: Wooster Weekly News July 2015)
The future of the park:
"The development of the Barnes Preserve is multi-faceted, consisting of five (5) separate phases and will address two existing problems. First, it will address the need for the development of the Wayne County Park District to increase the outdoor recreation opportunities available within the County. Second, it will address and resolve the need for a fully accessible outdoor recreation site in Wayne County, including meandering trails throughout the woods and meadow that are accessible for all Ohioans, specifically designed to fully include individuals with physical disabilities....
Upon its completion, the Barnes Preserve will provide non-motorized, diverse trails which allow for bicycle use, skating, walking and jogging; picnic areas, wildlife observation, photography areas, fishing, and playground equipment accessible to individuals of all abilities."
To be completed this fall....
"Installation of two parking lots; handicapped accessible lot is at Pavilion (Fall 2015)
Construction of fully accessible Pavilion and ADA compliant picnic tables (Fall 2015)
Construction of a wheelchair accessible observation deck at wetland pond at woods’ edge (2015) "
More info on Friends of the Wayne County Park District & Barne's Preserve can be found here.
Volunteers make it happen! Click the link to find out how you can get involved.
View images from our adventure below.
Discover new and interesting things about the world around you.
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.