Steppin’ out on Fairborn Parks and Recreation trails

April 22, 2014

Editor’s note: This article is the second in a six-week series that will be published Tuesdays in the Herald. Articles are supplied by the Fairborn Park Foundation to help inform readers of the opportunities and activities offered by the Fairborn Parks and Recreation Division.

FAIRBORN — Walking is one of the most popular forms of physical activities and there is a Fairborn City Park waiting for you to “step out” and enjoy. All ages are sure to find an outdoor adventure that is enjoyable and is just plain good for you.

For those interested in nature, the Valle View Reserve located off Empire Circle, Commerce Center Boulevard (behind Fifth Third Bank on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road) is the city’s newest park with a quarter-mile natural trail of crushed stone for all to enjoy the natural beauty of Fairborn. Look carefully and you may spot a cute critter among the spring foliage. Can you identify him?

Throughout the city are other natural parks that guests will want to explore, but don’t miss Oakes Quarry Park, 1267 E. Xenia Drive. Drive east on route 235 and you’ll find the park on the left hand side at the top of the hill. Talk about a park that has everything. This former rock quarry includes woodland walking trails, horse trails, prairies, small ponds, and a landscape that looks like you are walking on the moon. Over 400 million years ago you would have been walking underwater in this park!

Be on the lookout for a variety of woodland and grassland birds and four-legged creatures. Don’t forget to look overhead and you might spot turkey vultures, hawks and a variety of waterfowl. You’ll find “spoil piles” where you can even hunt for your own fossils. Bring your fishing pole because there are two ponds here, too. This park begs you to come for another visit.

Each of the following parks provides trails to walk and enjoy the natural settings. Some trails follow tree lines, and others follow creek beds. Try each to find your favorite:

  • Cold Springs Reserve, 760 Black Lane
  • Community Park, 691 E. Dayton-Yellow Springs Road
  • Fair Creek Park, 2273 Beaver Valley Road
  • Sandhill Park, 229 Sandhill Road
  • Wedgewood Park, 1424 Wedgewood Drive
  • Wright Park, 470 West Funderburg Road

Other organizations providing natural trails to explore in Fairborn are B-W Greenway (www.bwgreenway.org), Beaver Creek Wetlands Association (www.beavercreekwetlands.org), and Greene County Parks and Trails (www.gcparkstrails.com).

Need a nice long, firm surface for a quick run? Just lace up those tennis shoes and head for Community Park at 691 East Dayton-Yellow Springs Road. A paved one and a quarter-mile path at the top of the park is for walkers as well as runners, but those wanting a challenge can jog down to the paved three-quarter mile path located at the bottom of the park and jog back up. Catch your breath at one of the many shelters and benches scattered along the path. Restrooms and drinking fountains are also available. There are also playgrounds, sand volleyball, a small fishing lake and softball and soccer fields, and five tennis courts will be ready in the fall.

The Wright Brothers Huffman Prairie Trail, which parallels Kauffman Avenue and the Norfolk Southern Railroad track, has a 4.3-mile paved path that can have you running all over the county and the state, if you wish. This summer the Central Avenue-Xenia Bikeway Connector will complete the bikeway between Central Avenue/YMCA to the Xenia Avenue/ Calamityville location. This will allow access to the Greene County Trail system to the north and east, linking Fairborn to additional communities as well as the Five Rivers MetroParks trail system and the Ohio-Erie-State wide trail system to the south.

Although it is not part of the Fairborn City Parks, the Bath Township Park at 1006 Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road offers a paved trail for walking and running and is open to Fairborn residents. Their website provides information about other features in their park www.bathtownshipgreenecountyohio.us.

Want to push your grandmother in a wheelchair or a toddler in a stroller?

Wright Brothers Huffman Prairie Trail is really an eye-catcher in the spring with its flowering pink and white crabapple trees. This Arbor Day 2014, additional plantings of 6o new medium and large shade trees such as oaks, elms, franklinia, and spice bushes as well as new concrete benches will be added. What a great spot to stop and admire both spring and fall foliage for grandma and the kids.

Strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs can easily navigate the paved trails in Community Park. It’s the perfect place to share a picnic lunch and enjoy watching the kids playing in the park.

When the weather gets hot Central Park, 222 S. Central Avenue is a really cool place to visit. If the breeze is just right those in strollers or wheelchairs can enjoy the mist from the sprayground. There is a short paved path through the park that surrounds the bandstand – just right for that beginning walker or those in strollers or wheelchairs. Playground equipment, benches, and a shade structure add to the enjoyment of the park.

This six-week series is planned to help residents find the places in Fairborn which have the facilities for activities they like or are willing to try. Next Tuesday will focus on how the “Outside is Better than Inside.”