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Most of us like our sidewalks and walking paths immaculately cleared of snow, but at a group of park-goers protested the clearing of one particular path at Secor Metropark, prompting the park to create a cross-country ski trail.
“A day like today when it starts to snow is preferable to skiers,” Scott Carpenter, Metroparks of Toledo’s spokesman, said on Friday.
Near the park's National Center for Nature Photography building begins the snow-covered ski trail. Before, it was on the list of trails that were cleared for snow. The park has 586 acres of land, filled with dense forests and scenery, that is in Sylvania and Richfield townships. Outdoor enthusiasts were skiing on the trail during the frigid months.
“You know the saying, ‘Build it and they will come,’ all we had to do is not plow and people did start using the trail,” he said.
In January, skiers asked the park system not to plow the 4.8 mile trail, and the park responded. Among the park system’s more than 100 miles of multi-use trails used for hiking and sport during the winter, the new cross-country ski trail is one of two like it in the park system. The second is at the Oak Openings Metropark in Swanton.
After popular use of the trail, Metropark officials thought of setting tracks as a “unique idea.” A couple weeks ago, the Volunteers in Parks, an organization which raises funds for park programs, donated $1,300 for a track setting machine.
"The machine sets two parallel grooves that are ideal for skiers,” said Karen Pugh, manager of the photo center gallery, who often views skiers from the building’s window.
A skier herself, she said the machine slightly packs the snow, which is easier for skis to glide over, rather than the fluffy form of snowflakes.
Another bonus, the trail has a fire pit along the path. Mr. Carpenter said it is stocked with wood and park-goers are invited to use it at their leisure.
Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.