The Toledo Area Metropark’s first mountain bike trail is planned for the Swanton area. The single track bike trail will be located in Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, and will be capable of shared use with runners, walkers, and hikers.
“With the help of an estimated 1,000 hours of volunteer labor, we hope to open the first four-plus miles of the trail next spring on existing Oak Openings Preserve property,” said Scott Carpenter, Metroparks director of public relations. “Pending grant funding will determine the schedule for developing additional trail miles on property Metroparks owns west of State Route 64, which straddles the Lucas-Fulton county line.”
The first section will share portions of the Wabash Cannonball Trail and the park’s hiking trail. It will be accessible from the Springbrook Area on State Route 64 (Waterville Swanton Road) and would travel mainly to the north on the east side of 64.
When funding is secured for the second section, the trail will continue to the west of State Route 64 on property recently purchased by the Metroparks. It will travel on land previously planned for the golf club at Saddlehorn that crosses into Fulton County and then west past Main Street.
Future opportunities include a dedicated trail head. If grant funding is available Metroparks could put a trail head north of the Swanton Reservoir on State Route 64. It would include parking, a restroom, and a flexible use facility.
Metroparks has already applied for the grant, which would also help speed development of the Fulton County portion of the trail.
“The trail is part of Metroparks of the Toledo area’s ongoing efforts to respond to the demand for outdoor recreation options in our region,” said Carpenter. “We have added programs and facilities for kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, archery, and bicycling to engage more people in the outdoors and to enhance northwest Ohio’s reputation as a great place to live if you love the outdoors.”
The focus of the trail will be on beginning and intermediate users, and will be be used for competitive events.
The trail has been designed with bikes in mind as the primary user. Therefore, it tends to weave and dip more than a normal walking trail. It also avoids sharp turns that would result in heavy breaking which could lead to erosion issues.
Much of the trail will have a narrow tread width of only about 18 inches. In sections of trail that are two-way, and at road intersections, the tread width will be widened to about 36 inches.
The trail will have multiple boardwalks to cross ditches and wet areas. Unlike normal walking trails, these boardwalks may be undulating, twisted or split into varying widths to enhance the riding experience. The board spacing on the bike trail boardwalks may also be slightly further apart than a traditional walking trail.
Many areas of the bike trail will be bench cut into a slope. This is in keeping with best practice techniques for a sustainable trail.
People interested in volunteering can visit the Metroparks’ calendar page at reservations.metroparkstoledo.com/programs/ and search for the keyword “singletrack.” Reservations can be made offline by calling 419-407-9700.
Drew Stambaugh can be reached at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise