Bluebell Valley Nature Reserve in Medina County to open in early October

HARRISVILLE TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Medina County’s newest nature area – the Bluebell Valley Nature Preserve – is slated to open to the public around October 1, once the improvements are complete.

As part of a 2002 wetland mitigation and stream restoration project, the 84-acre parcel is adjacent to Hidden Hollow Park on Richman Road in Harrisville Township. The Park District managed the property for 20 years and purchased the land between 2001 and 2004.

The reserve sits along the western fork of the eastern branch of the Black River and is home to a spectacular bed of Virginia hyacinths which grow along the river and bloom from April to May.

Medina County Park District Natural Resources Director Jim Spetz holds a stalk of turkey’s foot grass – a native plant featured in the Bluebell Valley Nature Preserve in Harrisville Township. (Mary Jane Brewer, special for cleveland.com)

After the restoration of 8,000 linear feet of the Black River in 2002, the property’s meadow was used for grazing by a local farmer. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement that helped feed his cattle and alleviated the need for the park district to mow the pasture to prevent the growth of non-native shrubs and grasses. Cattle also provided natural fertilizers.

Even though the area was not open to the public, the park district volunteers removed non-native garlic mustard plants that were choking native species.

Phase 1 upgrades were recently completed, including parking for 20 cars, a 10-foot-wide half-mile limestone loop trail (wheelchair and stroller accessible), and a longer trail. , narrow and natural surface that cuts through native grasses, woods and near wetlands.

Wooden walkway at Bluebell Valley Nature Preserve

This wooden walkway was recently built by Natural Resources staff from the Medina County Park District to Bluebell Valley Nature Reserve. (Mary Jane Brewer, special for cleveland.com)

Natural resources staff, led by manager Jim Spetz, worked to build a bridge over a narrow stream in the woods, clear out non-native shrubs such as the fall olive tree, and plan the construction of a belvedere in the forest which will offer an unobstructed view. of the Black River and flowering hyacinths.

Phase 2, which will likely take place next year, will include a small picnic shelter and washroom building. Because the area is not considered a park, but a nature reserve, it will not include a playground or paved areas.

Pets on a lead are welcome. Cycling is not allowed.

When the reserve opens in the fall, visitors can expect to experience beautiful views of meadows and woods, interesting hiking trails, lush habitat for butterflies and migrating birds, and a quiet region. and isolated to enjoy nature.

Read more of the Sun of the Medina.


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