What Makes a Park – Forest Run

What makes a park? In an era of social media, van lifestyles, and national park bucket lists, it can be easy to overlook the beauty found right in our backyards. The truth is that we don’t have to travel far to experience nature. There are no grand and majestic requirements when it comes to what makes a park. The beauty of nature comes in all shapes and sizes, all colors and locations.

If you had the chance to read our last post, you know that just down the road from Green Heron MetroPark, you will find Forest Run. Split into two sections – Wildlife Preserve and Timberman Ridge – this park has a larger acreage and is also home to the MetroParks’ Administrative Offices. Though labeled under the same name, each section of this park offers diverse characteristics and landscapes.

Let’s first take a look at the Wildlife Preserve Area. When driving into the park, I instantly noticed the large expanse of meadow that blanketed the land. Birds, butterflies, and bees took refuge among the wildflowers, making this the perfect spot for wildlife viewing.

Following the paved path further into the park led to a serene oasis, complete with grassy trails and plenty of greenery. The park offers ample sightseeing opportunities when it comes to plants and wildlife, with platform decks and picnic tables among the meadow. Nearby stands a playground for all your kiddos yearning to release their energy as you slow down and enjoy the scenery.

The trails here are simply beautiful, covered in what I like to call “nature’s carpet.” Alone in the greenery and submerged in the landscape, I was reminded that nature likes to work in magical ways. With a newly risen sun, the sound of nearby crickets, a familiar chirp of a songbird, and a beautiful vista to behold, I experienced a moment that can only be deemed as outdoor bliss.

I left the Wildlife Preserve area feeling fulfilled, but little did I know what lay ahead at the Timberman Ridge section of the park. Just down the street, I pulled into the parking lot unsure what could possibly outdo the park sector prior. But as I stepped foot out of my car, my eyes were instantly drawn to the mirror image that lay ahead. Reflections of trees, clouds, and sky were perfectly displayed on its surface. Though this was not glass, you could have convinced me that it was. Instead, this is Songbird Pond, another one of Forest Run’s hidden gems. The pond lay perfectly flat, rippled only by the small bobber of a nearby fisherman. The pond’s perimeter was encircled by a grassy path, offering picturesque views from every angle. I could have sat by the water for hours, entranced by the beauty, but my time was limited so I ventured onward.

Nearby was the Timberman Ridge Trail, a paved 1.2-mile loop that was scattered with friendly passersby. This path proved popular for morning walks, but in total, Timberman Ridge offers 9.1 miles of natural trails, with trailheads found throughout the park. Two of these trails are cross country courses that are open to runners and walkers alike. Along the trails, you will notice restorative measures taking place in turning what was once farmland into an oasis of grasslands, prairies, wetlands, and woodlands. Your trek through this park will be met with stunning views of the scenery, littered with wildflowers and friendly creatures.

But, if you’re looking for a simple outdoor retreat, Timberman Ridge also offers the Kestrel Shelter, an old barn complete with picnic tables and windows for your viewing pleasure. It serves as a perfect location for outdoor gatherings and picnics for groups of all sizes.

What makes a park? The various recreation activities Forest Run offers prove its place as a park. Whether you’re looking to fish, walk, wildlife watch, or simply be in nature, Forest Run is able to please even the pickiest of parkgoers. Forest Run has also helped in forming an outdoors community as visitors from all over enjoy its green space. Small or grand as they may be, parks offer us a reconnection with the natural world, a safe haven among the trees, a reminder that in nature, lies magic. We just have to go outside to find it.

Addy Werling

Addy is a junior at Miami University in Oxford with a major in marketing. She recently joined the MetroParks team as an intern in the summer of 2022. With a love for writing and connecting with others, she has helped MetroParks in the creation of their very first blog, Footprints. Although she had only set foot in one MetroPark when she began, she is excited to explore new green spaces here in Butler County and showcase them on the blog. Outside of work, Addy enjoys spending time outside, camping, running, hiking, and playing with her dog, Max. She appreciates you taking the time to read her content on the blog and hopes that through this platform, we all can find a renewed gratitude for the outdoors.


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