New recreational opportunity in the works
The 225-acre park is a destination due to its valuable biodiversity and breadth of life forms, making it unique from other natural parks in the state.
Dr. Dave Smith, owner of Freshwater Farms and the committee’s aquaculture expert, described the “rich seasonal palette of natural beauty” resulting from six lakes and miles of hiking trails.
On July 18, the park will be open for a preview day with a plethora of events to welcome families, educators, corporate partners and others to experience the park.
While guests won’t be allowed to fish or enter the water on this preview day, activities will abound for all age groups and nature enthusiasts. Other educational displays and activities will be provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and three local libraries. Water demonstrations of paddleboard yoga, kayaking, and canoeing with Birch Bark Canoe Livery will be seen from the big lake. Hands-on nature exploration with Tinkergarten therapists to promote wellness in children will also be a must-see. Attendees can learn about amphibians, dragonflies, invasive plants, goats as sustainable weed control, and hike a number of trails all at the event.
Advisory committee member Allison Cox says she joined the re-opening effort to help create “generational change and bring together nature and wellness.”
The other members reflect similar interests in nature, wildlife habitats, hiking, camping, and community partnerships. Future events are being developed, and community members are encouraged to visit the City of Urbana’s website under the Parks and Recreation section if they have questions or wish to volunteer.
The park is trash-free, so attendees should not bring any disposables onto the property. Those attending on Sunday are encouraged to wear sunscreen, bring a reusable water bottle and wear comfortable walking shoes to the park.
To volunteer at this event, click here!
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
We humans are not the only ones getting tired of staying at home all the time. Your dog is ready to get out and explore too! There is so much you can do right here in Champaign County to treat your dog to a day out.
If your pup is in need of a spa day look no further than the Lil Dog Ranch. They offer full grooming services. You can book a bath and brush which includes a nail trim, ear cleaning and bandana. If your dog needs a haircut, they can do that too! They even offer flea treatments and teeth brushing. All of your dogs’ grooming needs can be taken care of in just one stop.
Once your dog is looking their best, it is time to hit the town and make some new friends. Head over to Fido’s Field, Urbana’s dog park. Here you will find 2.4 acres for your pup to enjoy. There are two doggie drinking fountains and separate areas for dogs under 25 pounds and dogs over 25 pounds. There are benches available for the human guests and plenty of shade when it’s time to take a break. After your break you can hit the agility area and test your dogs’ skills.
After a long day of being pampered and making friends your dog is sure to be ready for a special treat. There are so many great local places you can head to that offer treats for pups of all sizes. At The Depot in Urbana you can stop on their patio and enjoy some shade while you have a coffee and your dog has a pup cup (a cup of whipped cream). They also have water bowls available inside that you can ask for while you visit. If you are looking for more than a cup of coffee, there are many places you can grab lunch where you can bring your dog too! Dairy Queen, Crabill’s, and Spotted Cow all have outdoor seating where your dog is welcome to join you for lunch or dinner.
At the end of a long day you can stay at Cobblestone Hotel in Urbana, Ohio. The new hotel on the south end of town is pet friendly! When booking a room just mention that you will be bringing your pup with you. It is an additional $25 per night for your pet and there is plenty of room to walk your dog and doggie bags available. If you need to leave, the staff will take down your phone number so if anything happens, they will give you a call.
We hope you and your dog have a great time visiting Champaign County! Let us know what your favorite stop was along the way.
Ohio’s Mad River is a popular brown trout fishery with the river being stocked yearly with over 12,000 brown trout by the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s fish hatcheries. In Champaign County, this river flows through the county with multiple access points, including a newly created, state owned access point near the intersection of State Route 296 and State Route 29, just north of Urbana.
In addition to fishing and fly fishing, the Mad River is one of Ohio’s great places to kayak and canoe. Birch Bark Canoe Livery provides rentals of canoes and kayaks for paddlers who want to enjoy the cool and clear waters of the Mad River. In most places within the river, the water is only 2-3 feet deep with the river bottom visible to paddlers, and the gentle current of the river allows for a leisurely pace.
For the camping enthusiast, Champaign County is home to Kiser Lake State Park and Rittenhouse Resort which both offer camping sites. Campsite reservations are required for Kiser Lake State Park and can be placed by calling (866) OHIOPARKS or by reserving online. Kiser Lake State Park features a 396-acre lake and is a popular destination for camping, swimming, non-motorized boating, picnicking, hiking, and fishing. Rittenhouse Resort is a privately owned, 40-acre campground that is open May through October and features a swimming lake and fishing pond.
The Simon Kenton Trail bike trail extends through Champaign County and connects to the larger Miami Valley trail system which features the nation’s largest paved trail network of over 340 miles of trail. In total, the Simon Kenton Trail is a 35-mile trail adventure from Springfield, through Urbana, and up to Bellefontaine. Within Champaign County, parking and access to the trail is available at County Line Road, at Woodburn Road, at State Route 55, and at the restored Urbana Depot. In addition to public parking, the restored depot on Miami Street in Urbana features public restrooms and a popular coffeehouse.
For the nature lover, Champaign County is home to three, stated owned nature preserves, including Cedar Bog, Davey Woods, and Siegenthaler-Kaestner Esker. Cedar Bog Nature Preserve is located just south of Urbana and is considered by many to be Ohio’s premier natural area. The site is home to many rare plants and animals and it is a National Natural Landmark, one of only twenty-five such sites in the State of Ohio. A boardwalk and nature center are also located on site. Davey Woods State Nature Preserve is a 103-acre mature forest woodland featuring tulip trees, sugar maples, and oak. This site is a great place for hiking or fall color viewing. Siegenthaler-Kaestner Esker State Nature Preserve is a 37-acre preserve that features glacial landforms.
More evidence of glaciers can be found at the county’s caves that are open to the public. Cave Adventures is home to an extraordinarily breathtaking cave where guests descend 33 feet underground. Each guest is fitted with their own helmet and headlamps to guide the way in this unique adventure, to be explored in the most primitive sense. Crawl, climb and walk as you discover splendid stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, columns, flow stones, curtains and more! The ancient cavern boasts a “red room” that will astound all visitors.
No trip to Champaign County is complete without visiting Ohio's largest and most beautiful cavern! Ohio Caverns is an all-weather attraction that is open all year. Each tour is guided and is a comfortable walk through the cavern. Each tour takes approximately one hour where the temperature remains a constant 54 degrees throughout the year. The tours are educational and provide the public with an opportunity to see the wonderful world of underground beauty.
Lastly, Champaign County is a destination for both disc golfers and traditional golfers alike. The Hilltop Disc Golf Course at Melvin Miller Park in Urbana is free and offers nine open holes and nine wooded holes with varying terrain. In addition, Melvin Miller Park also offers an additional nine disc golf course that is located on flat terrain. Beyond disc golf, Champaign County is home to the Urbana Country Club, Lakeland Golf Club, and Woodland Golf Club.
For outdoor adventurers planning an overnight trip, the Cobblestone Hotel-Urbana is offering special rates for those participating in the Explore the Outdoors Trail. Call the hotel directly and ask for the FFT rate.
To learn more about the unique destinations and attractions in Urbana and Champaign County, follow the Champaign County Visitors Bureau on Facebook and Instagram or check us out on the web at www.visitchampaignohio.com.
Submitted by Champaign County Visitors Bureau