Holbrook Hollows Park in Bainbridge features winding trails, forests, hollows, ravines and wetlands. While it is one of the Geauga Park District’s newest parks, it is already seeing enthusiastic use by walkers, horseback riders and nature lovers.
On Saturday, a 2.8-mile hike of about 90 minutes will be hosted by the Foundation for Geauga Parks starting at 10:30 a.m. The park is located at 7250 Country Lane and walkers will meet in the parking lot. No registration is required, and those interested in the walk can simply show up.
Everyone is encouraged to bring binoculars as Geauga Park District naturalist Dan Best will be leading the hike, pointing out the natural features and wonders of the park.
Horses at Holbrook Hollows are a tradition. The property was once the site of a church camp run by the Rev. Stephen Custoros into the early 1960s. It was also home to the Triple K Dude Ranch as well as the Country Lane Day Camp and Stables.
Riding clubs including the Bainbridge Riding Club members rode their horses on the trails. Art Kilby ran the dude ranch that closed in 1967.
The Aurora branch of the Chagrin River runs through the 129 acres which includes scenic mature woodlands, streams and wildlife and birds. There are also vernal or seasonal and temporary pools of water that provide habitat for amphibians and invertebrate on the land.
Jeff Hyde of the Foundation for Geauga Parks said the new Holbrook Hollows Park is going to get good use on the western side of Geauga County. “The shelter and the trails are great,” he said. There is also a playground for children visiting the park.
There is biodiversity at Holbrook Hollows including wetlands, streams and forests, Mr. Hyde noted. “And they have done a great job with the trails.” He added that Geauga Park District naturalist Dan Best, who will lead the hike, will point out the plants and animals. “He adds so much value because of his knowledge,” Mr. Hyde said.
The Foundation for Geauga Parks has been leading hikes for several years, and this year kayaking and bike riding are being added to the activities that get people out to explore and learn about the parks, Mr. Hyde said.
The foundation was established in 1992 by Geauga County residents interested in the natural wonders offered by the parks. The goal is primarily to provide financial support for all the parks in Geauga County, Mr. Hyde said.
The foundation provides field binoculars to all fifth-graders in public and private schools in the county. It’s important for the students to have their own binoculars to explore the natural world, he said.
Munson Township’s park is currently being helped by the foundation to develop a trail at the township’s River’s Edge Park. The foundation also worked on preserving land for Geauga Park District’s Rookery and West Woods parks in the early 1990s.
“Parks add a lot of value and health to the environment,” Mr. Hyde said, as well as home property values.
Mr. Best said the park district has had the Holbrook Hollows property for several years and it was developed over the last few years.
“It’s a beautiful park with wooded trails,” he said, also noting the topography is fascinating and there is an amazing walkway overlooking the wetlands. A horse trail links to the equestrian trail of the South Chagrin Reservation. Horseback riders have the ability to go quite a distance, Mr. Best said.
The Foundation for Geauga Parks has been very supportive of Geauga parks, he noted.
In keeping with its horse related background, Holbrook Hollows will be the site of a memorial plaque dedicated to the late Nora Stanton, a founding member of the Geauga County Ohio Horseman’s Council and liaison to the Geauga Park District.
Geauga Park District naturalist Dottie Drockton said the plaque should be in place sometime in August. It will be mounted on a glacial boulder being moved to the park for the plaque.
Mrs. Stanton led the way in creating many of the trails used by horseback riders today in the county. She was dedicated to preserving land and expanding bridle trails for all to enjoy. She also helped all abandoned and abused animals.
The plaque includes a picture of Mrs. Stanton on her favorite mustang, Shoshone.She rode many miles on the horse. She was also dedicated to caring for Geauga parks.
It was Mrs. Stanton’s dream to connect the Geauga Park District to the Cleveland Metroparks, according to Ms. Drockton, and at Holbrook Hollows, there is a trail connection to the Cleveland Metroparks South Chagrin Reservation’s trail for additional horseback riding.