Monday, October 8, 2012

Bicentennial Woods: Fort Wayne, IN

ACRES Land Trust manages a number of nature preserves.  Many of these are in the Fort Wayne area.  Bicentennial Woods is one of those beautiful preserves.  Located on Shoaff Road off of Coldwater on the north side of Fort Wayne; it offers over 2 miles of well-maintained trails.  A small gravel parking lot is immediately at the entrance to the preserve.

Beauty abounds as you walk the hilly "moderate" trails through woods, prairie, and wetland.

Bicentennial Woods offers benches for resting in strategic scenic areas.

It has wide bridges for the whole family to safely cross the creek that flows through the preserve.

Wildlife can be found in many areas of the preserve if you keep your eyes open.

This hike offers a brilliant display of fall colors, sounds, and smells.  It's a must-hike for families interested in nature learning.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Rotary Park, Bluffton, In

Rotary Park sits along the River Greenway Trail in Bluffton, IN.  This park offers a picnic pavilion, which can be reserved for $30 a day.  

The park also offers public parking and an acre or two of land for activities.

There is a sign board next to the park with information about Parks & Recreation Department activities. When we visited, the information on the board was about a week past completion.  This does get updated regularly as events are scheduled. 

A large eagle statue sits to the east of the park, marking the 1.5 mile spot on the River Greenway Trail.

This is an excellent location for small parties.  I am unclear about whether or not there is electricity in this pavilion.

River Greenway, Bluffton, IN

Bluffton's Corridor of the River Greenway Trail stretches from downtown Bluffton almost to Ouabache State Park.  The wide, paved trail is open for hikers, bikers, and skaters.  No horses or motorized vehicles are permitted on this trail 2.25 mile trail.

The west end of the trail begins by Wabash River Park, just behind Hardees.  There is public parking next to the park.  The River Greenway offers a number of parking lots along the trail.

There are also several benches along the path for enjoying the serene view.  The sights and sounds of birds in the trees is magnificent, as well as the sound of water bubbling over areas of rock in several places.  As we hiked the trail, we saw several people enjoying the benches for reading and chatting.

Across from the trail is another good sized park with a memorial to Charles C Deam, an important arborist in the state of Indiana.  It is believed that he once owned land near the trail.

The Bluffton Parks & Recreation Department does an incredible job enticing wildlife to visit the River Greenway.  A number of bird and squirrel feeders are present along the trail, as well as a bird house or two. During our most recent visit to the trail we saw robins, cardinals, nuthatches, golden finches, redwinged blackbirds, geese, ducks, and vultures.  With a trained ear and a knowledge of birds, one could spot many more species.  We even saw fish jumping!

Each half of a mile along the trail is a beautifully hand carved sculpture with a plaque to help you track your progress.  There are 4 sculptures in all.

There is one restroom along the trail.  It is in good, clean condition with as pleasant of a smell as you can have in a port-a-potty.

The River Greenway in Bluffton is a peaceful walk between the river and a highway.  (The peace is sometimes disrupted by passing cars).  The flat paved trail makes it excellent for pushing a stroller.

The river is very low right now, we loved this little island.  The low water leaves several areas of exposed rock, and a beautiful rushing sound for visitors.  The path appears to be well maintained and has lights along the west portion.

Wabash River Park, Bluffton, IN

At the west end of the River Greenway Trail in Bluffton is the Wabash River Park.  It sits behind the Hardee's on Main Street adjacent to a public parking lot.  This small park has a picnic pavilion with 3 tables, which can be reserved for $35 a day.   There is a wide open field behind the pavilion with a lot of room to run and play.

There is also a small gazebo with electricity nearby.  The landscaping around the gazebo is inviting and fun to explore.  This is an excellent place to begin or end a hike, run or bike on the River Greenway.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Moser Park, New Haven

Moser Park is a secret gem hidden just behind downtown New Haven, IN. It is part of the River Greenway Trail with a small sports complex and a fantastic natural trail.

The entrance to Moser Park can be found at the corner of Main and State in New Haven.  If you aren't familiar with the area or the park it can be tricky to find, as currently there is no sign to inform visitors of its presence.  

Immediately upon entering the park you find public restrooms.  They have running water and electricity.  These are clean and convenient.

There is a full court basketball court with lights for evening play.  There is one set of bleachers for people watching games.

Moser Park has a ball diamond, complete with concession stand, bleachers, and dugouts.  There is also a batting cage and  a good amount of space for practicing.

Moser Park offers a nature center for visitors.  It is currently closed for the season.  I have not found any information about when it will open or what hours will be kept.  

There are a handful of picnic tables by the pond for families to enjoy the beauty of nature while eating together.  Across the pond and up a steep hill is a train track, it's an extra special treat to young boys when the train appears in front of them.

Another view of the beautiful pond.

A fishing pier juts out into the little pond for those that enjoy the sport.

"I saw a dead fish, it's mouth was open like this!"

The River Greenway Trail comes into the park by the nature center and winds through this fantastic park.

There is a picnic pavilion with tables which can be reserved for events.

Behind the picnic pavilion is a nature trail.  This is an excellent wide path that is well cared for.  It leads through the woods along a stream and swamp area.

It also offers a disc golf course in the woods.  This one is near the water.  It appears to be a challenging, full course

There are benches on the trail for fulfilling the need to rest.

Many bridges of various sizes.  This one is super narrow, others are like platforms.  My husband says, "it brings out the boyhood in a person."

I said wide trails - these were wide and clear enough for a jumbo stroller.  

Initially we were disappointed, we had seen the park online and expected that our children would be able to enjoy a playground after having dinner.  There is no playground.  Upon entering the park, we saw the sports complex and thought we had made a bad choice.  We kept walking, in search of a good place to eat - and discovered the hidden beauty of this park.  We are so glad that we were able to visit Moser Park.  We look forward to visiting again when we can spend more time exploring the nature trails, and visit the nature center.