Slippery Elm Trail offers 13 miles of natural beauty

The Slippery Elm Trail may be one of the longest county parks in the country, and the narrowest. The 13 mile-long paved rail corridor that bisects the southern part of Wood County has been open to hikers, joggers, cyclist for almost twenty years.

This week it offered about a dozen people a chance to see get on the trail by use of a truck-pulled trolley. Wood County Parks District naturalist Renell Simrau says this is a program they offer occasionally throughout the summer months to give those who wouldn't be able to walk the trail, a chance to see it up-close. This week's trip was the last one of the season and the trolley was filled with seniors and parents with small children who were afforded a unique perspective of the rural countryside and the flora and fauna that fringe the old rail corridor that had tracks and trains on it until the 1970's. The tracks and trains are long gone, and the pathway is now paved, running from Bowling Green to North Baltimore.

Along the route are several popular areas to explore such as the Rudolph Savannah area which features some sand dunes and a native savanna meadow with tall prairie grasses. As the trolley rolled down the tree-lined trail, it made several other short nature stops.

Renell Simrau, who hosted the ride, took some time to talk about some of the native plants and animals found along the trial, including a red-tailed hawk that soared past and a familiar garter snake that was sunning itself along the path.

The final destination for the trip was the Cricketfrog Cove, near Cygnet. It is a large and newer park in the district and also offers the senses a combination of woodlands, prairie and lots of wildflowers.A quiet and unhurried corner of the world. Some of those on trip said they had no idea the park even existed.

The Slippery Elm Trail and Cricketfrog Cove are just a couple of the many parks and natural areas offered by the district.

We'll be exploring more of them in segments to come.

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