Friday, January 14, 2000

Butler County clears brush, tree debris

Parks get a winter face lift

Enquirer Contributor

        REILY TOWNSHIP — Indian Creek Preserve, 135 acres of walking trails through nature, is getting a winter cleaning.

        It's the first spruce-up planned this year for 19 sites covering 1,700 acres in Butler County's MetroParks system, officials said.

        Thursday, MetroParks workers, inmate trusties and community volunteers cleared brush and tree debris from roads and trails. They used a backhoe to regrade heavily used areas.

        Park ranger superintendent Shawn Petty said winter is a perfect time for such work because undergrowth and leaves are dead and easier to remove.

        “As long as it's not raining or lightning, we'll be out here,” he said.

        Workers cleared land bordering the preserve's roads, feeding tree limbs into a wood chipper borrowed from the Butler County Engineer's Office.

        Wood chips sprayed from the chipper's chute into piles of mulch. The mulch will be used for landscaping and to cover trail surfaces.

        “Brush was over the roads. Now the area looks more safe for the public, more professional. There's a nice view of the creek,” Mr. Petty said.

        He said that while some tree-cutting was necessary, most felled trees were “garbage trees” such as osage orange, and not indigenous species such as sugar maple.

        Workers also will repair restrooms and picnic tables and maintain trails, playgrounds and bridges.

        “Use of inmate trusties and community service volunteers is a cost savings measure for the park district and for the taxpayers,” said Mike Muska, MetroParks director. “It's also a very productive way for these (inmates) to pay their debt to society.”

        Mr. Muska said that the next few years will bring improvements to Indian Creek Preserve.

        With money from the Ohio Department of Transportation, MetroParks will renovate the site's roads. There also are plans to upgrade and expand the nature trails and improve picnic sites and playgrounds.

        “We want to bring our parks up to speed for the new century and create more family-oriented recreation areas,” Mr. Muska said.


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