State’s largest rock-climbing park set to open in Clark County


The largest rock-climbing area in the state will open Sunday in Clark County but first the natural attraction must be cleaned up.

The Mad River Gorge and Nature Preserve will be a 100-acre property that consists of trails, climbing cliffs and the Mad River. Much of the land was covered with garbage as it had been used as an illegal dumping ground for years.

“We are getting ready for a big weekend. We’ve got an anticipated 200 to 300 volunteers coming out (Saturday),” said Carol Kennard, executive director of the Clark County Combined Park District.

RELATED: Clark County Park District purchases 2 new park locations

The district received an $800,000 Clean Ohio Conservation Fund Grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission to purchase the land for the state’s largest rock climbing park.

Half of the money will be used for the acquisition, Kennard said, and the other half for the cleanup.

“For decades people have been dumping trash over the cliffs,” she said. “It was an easy way to get rid of trash back in the day.”

Park staff members and volunteers now have a big job to clean it all up, she said.

The area has been in the process of being cleaned up for months before opening day. Volunteers also spent Friday morning cleaning up the gorge, using a crane, several Dumpsters, construction equipment on site to haul trash out.

RELATEDProposed changes to mining permit concerns Clark County residents

The Clark County Solid Waste District provided 100 bagsters to help. They were filled at the bottom of the gorge with tires, propane tanks, cables and old toys then hoisted out by the crane.

Aaron Boyd, a volunteer who’s also a climber, is happy the area is finally being reclaimed.

“We are making it clean for the general public,” he said. “It’s going to be a nice rock-climbing area.”

Climbing associations in the state have told the Clark County Park District that the new park will be the largest climbing area in Ohio, Kennard said. The preserve has about 40 to 50 cliffs.

Boyd’s happy that something like it is close to home.

“I’ve been a climber for about 20 years and it’s not easy being a climber in Ohio,” Boyd said.

He lives about 30 minutes away from the preserve and said this will make his hobby much easier to enjoy.

DETAILS: National Trail Parks are places where lifelong memories are made

Saturday more volunteers will arrive to clean up the remainder of the park. They also will help the Ohio Climbers’ Coalition build trails and natural steps and remove invasive plants like honeysuckle, Kennard said.

Food trucks will be on site for lunch.

Outdoor vendors, raffles, silent auctions and outdoor competitions will also be available for volunteers after cleanup.

At noon Sunday, the park district will host a grand opening of the nature preserve. The event will include climbing demonstrations and nature hikes along the Mad River.

This is the park is for everyone, Kennard said.

“Beginner climbers, there will be spots where they can climb and then there are some more challenging areas where experienced climbers can explore,” she said.

For more information about the park, visit clarkcountyparks.org.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Ohio investigators test evidence from 14,000 backlogged rape kits
Ohio investigators test evidence from 14,000 backlogged rape kits

Nearly 14,000 rape kits were tested by the State Crime Lab after State investigators proposed they would seven years ago. The kits provided thousands of pieces of evidence that could lead to suspects but it was difficult to keep up with them all, state leaders said. New rules went into place in reviewing the kits for evidence to ensure a backlog like...
Could blood and urine test be used to diagnose autism?
Could blood and urine test be used to diagnose autism?

A newly developed blood and urine test could potentially detect autism in young children. That’s according to new research from scientists in the United Kingdom and Italy who conducted tests searching for damage to proteins previously known to be higher in children with autism spectrum disorders. The study, published this week in the academic...
Indiana man's casket discovered missing from gravesite after wife's death
Indiana man's casket discovered missing from gravesite after wife's death

An Indiana woman is angry after learning her father’s casket is missing from his gravesite, WISH reported. Mary Helen Samson Bovenschen died Feb. 18 at the age of 88. She was to buried next to her husband, Charles Bovenschen, who died Nov. 4, 2006 at age 80. But the couple’s daughter, Sandi Vasel, was stunned when speaking...
Proposed bill in California would provide a choice in driver's license photos
Proposed bill in California would provide a choice in driver's license photos

Have you ever met anyone who liked their driver’s license photo?  Of course not.  Photos on driver’s licenses always seem to show a person at his or her worst, but a bill proposed in the California state legislature would give drivers a choice, KABC reported. The bill would allow drivers to have multiple photos taken...
Teen admits to killing Tennessee couple, setting apartment on fire
Teen admits to killing Tennessee couple, setting apartment on fire

A Tennessee man was arrested in connection with the deaths of a Memphis couple who was found dead in an apartment that caught fire Thursday afternoon. Aareon Berryman, 18, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, aggravated arson, possession of marijuana with the intent to manufacture or sell, and possession...
More Stories