Is mountain biking environmentally harmful?

A brewing controversy in Cleveland Metroparks:should an agency whose mission is to conserve natural resources allow mountain biking?

Is this outdoor recreational activity more destructive than paved trails, natural surfaced trails that are poorly placed, or equestrian trails? Cleveland Metroparks in this case is coming down against the idea of mountain biking. Meanwhile National Park rules may change to allow mountain biking.

Having been around parks for many years, and seeing many different types of trails and activities, my personal opinion is that if properly managed, this type of trail is just as compatible with natural resources conservation as a bridle trail, paved trail, or even hiking trails with natural surfaces.

Bicycles can undoubtedly cause erosion issues, but so can other unregulated uses. People need to be in contact with nature. If mountain biking excites them, they ought to be able to engage in their chosen outdoor recreation. Bike trails can be created in an environmentally sustainable manner. As long as it is done right, I am all for it.


Four great things to do with the family in October

Fall is a precious time. There is only so much time when it is still comfortable to get outdoors. Only so long until the wildflowers fade. Not much longer until our spare time will be spent with the extended family for the holidays.

Before the last decent day passes, get outside and enjoy Nature! Here are some ideas to get you started.

Visit a park with an view

Find a favorite park that has a scenic overlook. A new favorite of mine is Mt. Jeez at Malabar Farm State Park near Mansfield Ohio. Take a picnic and make a day of it. While you are enjoying the views, maybe you could:

Take a fall hike

A crisp fall day is the perfect time to get out and walk in the woods. Check out these great fall hiking trails in Ohio. (If you aren’t from Ohio, or even if you are, find some close to home trails that are nice in the fall, and leave a comment on this post for others to see your favorites!)

Brush up on Winter Tree ID

Take some time to practice leaf identification with the kids. If you are ambitious, you could collect a variety, glue them down on card stock with white glue, and label them as a learning aid for the family. If you are a glutton for punishment, you could wait until the leaves are gone, and then try your hand at Winter Tree ID!

Orienteering: Find your way with a map and compass

Once the leaves are gone, it is easier to see the lay of the land, and places that were dense with foliage earlier in the year will be wide open for you to explore. It is a great time to learn orienteering, or brush up on it and share it with your kids or friends if you are an old pro. See what it is all about here: Orienteering.

What ever you choose to do with the rest of your fall, please make sure to get outdoors. Then come back and post your adventures, insights, or thoughts as comments here.


Northeast Ohio parks buck national trend, attendance is up

While park visitation may be down on the whole, in northeast Ohio, park attendance is up 20% in recent times.

Is it because we have better parks? More Parks? People more in tune with Nature? Bad statistics? Whatever the reason, encourages you to continue this trend and check out Ohio Parks on

Read more about the trends in park visitation here:

read more | digg story


Portage Park District Video

Support Issue 32- Portage Park District, the Natural Choice for You! The Portage County, Ohio park district is seeking its first ever dedicated funding, a 1/2 mill property tax that will cost property owners $1.50 per month per $100,000 of property value. This small investment will allow the park district to bring millions of dollars of state and federal matching grants back to Portage County, and will allow the park district to operate clean, safe parks close to home. Check out this video and support the Portage Parks! Check out the levy campaign’s web site at

read more | digg story


Their lives depend on it-Get your kids outside!

As naturalist William Hudson tells us in On Taking Kids Outside, children need to be exposed to the outdoors to thrive and connect to the real nature all around us.

Don’t just take our word for it. In the newspaper article linked below, Jennie Vasarhelyi, Chief of interpretation, education and visitor services for Cuyahoga Valley National Park tells us all about it, and throws in a schedule of events to boot.

Enjoy! Akron Ohio News – Outdoors benefits children’s well-being


Tree Farm Trail

We walked the Tree Farm Trail at the Horseshoe Pond area of Cuyahoga Valley National Park last evening with the kids. We got to watch a great blue heron patiently waiting for a chance to spear its dinner in the shallows of the pond. Also saw greater lobelia along the connector trail that takes you to the picnic shelter on the peninsula of Horseshoe Pond.

Back to the topic of the Asters of September, we did see smooth aster, and New England aster along the trail, as well as a host of other beautiful late season wildflowers. This is the perfect time to get out and see these wonderful colorful natural works of art.

I could feel winter moving closer, and see fall in the yellowing leaves of the maples and ashes. Get outside and see the wildflowers before the opportunity is gone for the year. Time flies.