Ohio Part II: Greater Seneca County Nature Preserves and Trails
I had intended on Ohio II, being a description of parks and trails that I have visited outside of the greater Seneca County area, however, there are a few more that I would like to add as a result of my most recent trip back home to visit my parents this winter. As always I was welcomed home to warm hospitality, and great food but I was also fortunate enough to enjoy two new nature preserves and revisit one that I had forgotten about with my parents.
Schekelhoff Nature Preserve & Clinton Nature Preserve
This narrow swath includes a mile long path that follows the Sandusky River on the north side of Tiffin. The trail is paved for the 4/10 of a mile and is gravel for the next 6/10 of a mile. The trail is bookended by stands of Oak, Basswood, Sycamore and many other species, but there is also a wider section in the form of a field. Within the field there is an occasional juniper or young oak tree popping out but it is dominated by grasses and thistle. Between the seed availability and quantity of bird houses, it provides an excellent habitat for song birds.
The area itself has an interesting history, and though the preserves have two names, they are essentially the same property. The particular trail carving through the preserve is a historical throughway. It was first used by Native American tribes as a part of the Scioto Trail. Then in 1813, General Harrison marched his army through en route to the Battle of Thames. Fast forwarding to the 1900s, the trail became Clinton Township Road 141, however, it was abandoned in 1941 due to frequent flooding. Now the trail is the highlight of the current nature preserve which is a cooperative effort between Seneca County Parks, Clinton Township, and Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Tiffin University Nature Preserve
When I was deciding on a college, I recall attending a Tiffin University cross country recruit night in September of 2007. There training facility was in a vacant shop in the Tiffin Mall. The indoor track was a series of rubber mats that amounted to a 25-50 meter loop within that vacant shop in the mall. Now just 11 years later Tiffin University has a beautiful indoor track, and a large athletic complex on the northwest side of town. This complex appeared to have a football fields soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and a well placed outdoor track.
In addition to these sports fields there is also a mile loop within a small wood in the northwest corner of the property. The trail is well groomed and features three wooden bridges crossing Wolf Creek, as well as one of the healthiest stands of trees I have seen in Tiffin. This trail and wood comprises the Tiffin University Nature Preserve. In my opinion there is nothing better as a collegiate cross country runner than to have an outdoor track as well as a wooded trail loop on the same property. This was an excellent way to incorporate a functioning athletic complex with a beautiful nature preserve and I applaud Tiffin University for their efforts!