Assistant Park Manager, Chestnut Ridge Metro Park
Humans, as one saying goes, are creatures of habit. Some habits are bad, some habits are good, and some habits are enduring for years. A lot of businesses, be it a restaurant, mall or park, have guests that visit the same establishment routinely as a habit. Visitors that come to the parks consistently, as a habit, are often referred to between staff members as “Regulars.” The habit of the “Regulars,” be it walking, hiking or riding a bike, often takes place during the same time of day, and weather conditions rarely deter them from visiting the parks. This habit allows the “Regulars” and staff members to get to know each other, share their ideas with each other, maybe exchange cooking recipes, and share their experiences of what is happening in the park or what they have seen recently. The next time you visit a Metro Park, be it Sharon Woods, Highbanks, Blacklick Woods, or here at Chestnut Ridge, and you see a “Regular,” take a moment to say “Hello” and start a conversation. Who knows, if you see these folks on a frequent basis, you are probably a “Regular” too. Happy trails!
Here, seven of our regulars at Chestnut Ridge speak about their experience of the park, based on a series of short survey questions.
My name is Michele, and I’ve been coming to Chestnut Ridge since 2004. I learned about it when I drove by the park shortly after moving to the area. My favorite thing about the park is how well maintained it is. If I were to describe it for a first time visitor, I’d say it is a small park with many activities available, including hiking trails with elevation gain, fishing, picnic tables and grills, and a great playground area. Chestnut Ridge is well maintained and safe with a ranger usually nearby. All of this is in a beautiful setting. Chestnut Ridge is truly a hidden gem. Many people discovered this park during COVID.
My name is Tom and I’ve been coming to Chestnut Ridge for 20 years at least. I like to visit all the Metro Parks in the Columbus area, which is how I discovered Chestnut Ridge. I really like that it is very hilly and heavily wooded. I also like how quiet it is, especially on weekdays and in the winter. And I love to sit by the ponds. It almost reminds me of a nature walk down in the Old Man’s Cave area, with its hills and the heavily wooded nature of the park. When you come here you will see deer, turkey, and plenty of different birds, including woodpeckers.
My name is Mary Jo and I’ve been coming to Chestnut Ridge for about 10 years. How I wish I would have discovered the Ridge earlier! I discovered it because my sister, who’s a Canal Winchester resident, shared her love for this park with me. Regardless of the season, I always feel a sense of peaceful joy while hiking at Chestnut Ridge. I encourage people to discover Chestnut Ridge for themselves. You’ll enjoy wooded trails and trails through fields and meadows, while spotting wildlife and a variety of Ohio native plants. This Metro Park is well maintained with a secure feeling knowing that a ranger is close by. There is a pond which allows fishing, a playground with plenty of play opportunities and a wooded pet trail.
My name is Scott. I’ve been coming to Chestnut Ridge for the past 15 years. I discovered it when I moved to the area and was looking for a new place to run. My wife and I took a walk at the park and I loved it. I can’t believe how peaceful it is. It is so quiet and pretty, with lots of trees. It’s a great place to unwind and just enjoy nature. Newcomers will have the joyful experience of discovering just a wonderful place to find peace and quiet and enjoy nature. The trails run through the deep parts of the woods and you feel like you are the only one there. It’s never crowded. Everyone I have encountered has been very friendly. It’s a great place to just relax and enjoy the outdoors. The rangers are friendly and make you feel welcome. Park staff always say “Hi” to me. It’s one of the best parks I have ever been to.
My name is Debbie. I’ve been coming to Chestnut Ridge for the past 10 years, ever since my husband brought me here for the first time. My favorite things about Chestnut Ridge is the flora and fauna and beautiful views. The challenging trails keep me coming back. My walking goal for a year is 1,000 miles. There is no better place to achieve this than here at Chestnut Ridge. The park offers something for everyone. First-time visitors are amazed at the park’s beauty. The trails and surrounding areas are well maintained by friendly, knowledgeable park staff. Also, Chestnut Ridge is steeped in history. A book named “Idle Weeds” by David Rains Wallace was written about Chestnut Ridge. There’s something new to discover at each visit.
My name is Raegene and I’ve been coming to Chestnut Ridge for the past 29 years. I first came across the park while driving to Canal Winchester. My favorite thing about Chestnut Ridge is the feeling of peacefulness it gives each visitor. It has the ability to lift your spirits, clear your mind and strengthen your body. The park is a geological gem, with its hilly forest, gentle streams, flowering meadows and serene pond. Upon entering its gates, you are greeted with its majestic grace and nature’s gift of beauty. Besides its natural beauty, it is a community of beautiful souls who offer kindness, encouragement, humor, wisdom and friendship. Chestnut Ridge is a best friend… always there for you!
My name is Mark, and I’ve been coming to Chestnut Ridge Metro Park ever since it opened, in May 1990. I used to live nearby and drove past it often. My favorite thing about this wonderful park is the way the scenery changes with the seasons. It’s amazing how the same trail can look so different in the changing seasons. I’d encourage people to come here and discover this terrific park. It’s a great place to walk and take in nature. You can make your hikes as easy or as challenging as you want. But please remember that pets are not allowed on the nature trails.