By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Step by step, the Madison County Park Board is making improvements to the Little Darby Nature Preserve.
The preserve is located east of Plumwood in Monroe Township. The 214-acre preserve is open to the public for low-impact recreation, including hiking, bird-watching and fishing.
Last month, to deter trespassers using motor vehicles, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources erected a fence around the parking lot at the intersection of Woods West Avenue and Lafayette-Plain City Road.
The next project is to seed sections of the preserve with native prairie flowers and grasses. The park board acquired a $32,828 Clean Ohio Green Space grant for the project.
“It involves 40 acres total at three sites. You can see two of the spots from outside the preserve and the other spot when you’re walking on the paths in the preserve,” said Julia Cumming, park board advisor.
Crews will mow and clear the 40 acres this fall, spray unwanted plant material twice in the spring, then seed the area next November.
“Right now, there’s autumn olive in there and a lot of goldenrod. We want to put diversity back in,” Cumming said. “We’ll be seeding black-eyed Susans, purple cone flower, Indian grass.”
At the Aug. 19 park board meeting, Wayne Roberts and Gene Pass of the Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails (FMCPT) reported on projects pertaining to the bike path that runs through London.
The Prairie Grass Trail is due for sealcoating in 2014. This section of the bike path runs between Midway Street in London and the Madison County line headed toward South Charleston. Before the path can be sealcoated, cracks must be repaired. The Choctaw Lake maintenance department has the equipment necessary to do the job. Roberts said the lake’s manager plans to ask the lake board if he can use his crew to do the work.
Volunteers and donors recently made possible a small improvement along the Roberts Pass Trail, the section of the bike path that runs from downtown London east to the Franklin County line. Willie and Meloni McCormick supplied the funding and Danny and Yung Holt supplied the labor to install a sidewalk from the path to the portable toilet at Wilson Road.
In other bike path news, Paula Stonecipher won the Giant bicycle raffle. FMCPT members sold tickets at various events starting last December. The winning ticket was drawn at the London Rib and Jazz Fest the first weekend in August.