Enjoy nature and history on the Lockbourne winter hikes series

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of the village of Lockbourne
Winter hikes will be held on the village of Lockbourne’s Magnolia Trails, 154 Commerce St., Lockbourne, on Jan. 23 and Feb. 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. See views of Big Walnut Creek as well as wildlife including deer, herons, hawks, and ducks. Also on the hike see the historic Ohio and Erie Canal locks in Lockbourne and Columbus feeder canal remnants.

Feeling housebound or want to work off some extra holiday fluffiness?

You can get a dose of fresh air and exercise while enjoying an historic hike around old canal towpaths in Lockbourne during the village’s winter hike series.

“We like to showcase the historic pieces of the trail as well as the natural beauty you find along the Magnolia Trail,” said village of Lockbourne Deputy Administrator Rachel Ricker. “It’s also good to get out and enjoy a cool, brisk walk in the winter.”

The first in a pair of hikes will step off on Jan. 23 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at 154 Commerce St. in Lockbourne. The second hike takes place at the same time, rain or shine, on Feb. 20.

There is no cost for the hikes, which are open to everyone and for all ages.

According to Ricker, hikers can either park down the hill in Locke Meadow Park or up on the street. The entrance to the park is next to the village’s Veterans Park. The starting point is to the left side of the parking area.

“We started the hikes two years ago,” said Ricker who said previous hikes, on average, attracted approximately 30 individuals from Lockbourne and the surrounding area.

Messenger photo by Linda Dillman
A layer of freshly fallen snow cloaks one of the historic Ohio and Erie Canal lock 27, located in Lockbourne on Canal Street near its intersection with Vause Street. According to “Geology Along the Towpath: Stones of the Ohio & Erie and Miami & Erie Canals,” by Joseph Hannibal, there are signs of grooves, probably made by canal boat tow ropes, on the east side of the south end of this lock. The lock was made of a fine to medium grade sandstone.

The Magnolia Trail ambles along Big Walnut Creek and past historic Ohio and Erie Canal locks remaining from the 1800s.

While the village of today may be a small community, in the heyday of Ohio’s canal system, Lockbourne was the closest point to Columbus from the main canal route. A 12-mile-long feeder canal was constructed from Lockbourne to Columbus in 1831 to provide access to the capital city in transporting people, livestock, and produce.

Entering Hamilton Township from the Groveport area, the canal followed a path now paralleled by the railroad along Canal Road in Lockbourne, where a few stone locks still stand from eight that serviced the area starting in the 1830s.

Locke Meadow Park is home to the start of the Magnolia Trail and Lock 30, which prevented flood water from the creek from entering the main canal. A lock tender’s house was once located adjacent to Lock 30.

“Along the creek, there is plenty of wildlife,” said Ricker. “I have seen herons, hawks and ducks. In other seasons, you can find our paw paw grove and buckeye trees. The trail is not very difficult at all. It would be rated easy.”

For information, call 614-491-3161, Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, or visit www.lockbourneohio.us.

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