Wetlands association aims to give more wetland access to Greene County residents

The Beaver Creek Wetlands Association hopes to create a new $7.5 million trail system with boardwalks, pedestrian bridges and overlook platforms so that Greene County residents can access wetlands and enjoy them.

Greene County Commissioners last week passed a resolution supporting the project.

Construction of a new boardwalk and path system will begin in the middle of December, said Ken Moran, vice president of the Beaver Creek Wetlands Association.

The association hopes to finish the project in seven phases over five years. The new trail system would span 15 miles of the Beaver Creek wetland corridor, from Pearl’s Fen in Fairborn to Rotary Park in Beavercreek.

Phase one, which would finish in spring of 2021, would include a boardwalk system, pedestrian bridges, viewing platforms and information kiosks at the Beaver Creek Wetlands Nature Reserve, Phillips Park and Rotary Park.

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The new $7.5 million project will be called the “Spotted Turtle Trail.” This first phase will cost about $600,000, which will mostly be in boardwalk materials.

Chuck Frazier, senior manager for Greene County Parks and Trails, said the proposed trail will start and end on county owned property.

Greene County Parks and Trails has partnered with Beaver Creek Wetlands Association in this project by sprucing up their existing trails in Phillips Park and the Beaver Creek Wetlands Nature Reserve.

“We did that to show our good faith and support for the project,” Frazier said. “We are committed to try and assist on our properties.”

In the first two months of fundraising for this project, Moran said Beaver Creek Wetlands Association has raised about $150,000. The organization will also seek grants and individual contributions.

Moran said the goal for this project is to connect this new trail to existing trails and create access points near surrounding neighborhoods.

“Our main goal is to tie in all these neighborhoods to the wetland and make it traversable,” Moran said. “We want to make sure everybody can go out and enjoy the space. And we’re hopeful that the entire community gets behind us in this.”

Frazier said that since the coronavirus pandemic started, the number of people using their trails has “skyrocketed.” If the project is successful, Frazier also said that it will be a good example of different public entities working together.

“I think this will be a great demonstration of government entities working together for the good of the whole,” he said. “I think this will become a real destination for some folks. That is a really interesting, diverse ecosystem in there.”

More information will be available about this project after Nov. 13, Moran said.

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