Austin Badger Park
eBird Bar Charts by Season
Austin Badger Park is in the process of being created from an overgrown golf course. You may access the park from a new parking lot off of River Styx. There is a concrete path (previously a cart path) that winds its way through miles of grassy strips (overgrown fairways) and alongside mature trees. This park is very hilly, and while you climb to some beautiful hilltop views, you must walk up (and down) some very steep hills. I would rate it as strenuous.
I bird Austin Badger Park from my bike so that I can see a lot of the park (and more birds). Some neat things that I saw that made me suggest the hotspot: There is a section of the path which climbs up to the top of the railroad trestle (which spans River Styx Road), and I saw a family of red-tailed hawks from there. I was surprised by a family of bluebirds up by the abandoned golf building at the “turn”, marveled at a large group of yellow-shafted flickers in the mowed grass next to the cart path, and could have sworn I saw an osprey flying overhead today. There is a nice wetlands section that is, unfortunately, inaccessible, since the bridge over it has been damaged and I wouldn’t recommend that anyone go on it.
There is a mountain bike trail going in and a fitness trail with exercise stations. It will become more and more popular as the years progress. Also, due to the nature of where the cart path is situated along the tree line, birders have limited habitat access. I can look into the wooded areas, but can’t see much from the path. You mainly watch the edges or look across the fairways. Still, there are a lot of species to see and hear there.
From Mickie Getz
About Austin Badger Park
Austin Badger Park offers varying elevations of 2.3 miles of concrete walking trails. Exercise enthusiasts can achieve the ultimate workout by turning left after crossing Bridge One. The more casual walker can enjoy a leisurely stroll by turning right.
Montville Township is grateful to both the Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) for their donation of 3.6 miles of mountain bike trails professionally designed for both the intermediate and experienced ride; and also to the Cleveland Clinic for the donation of four Fitness Stations that provide a unique outdoor exercise addition to a walk or jog through the park.
From Austin Badger Park webpage
About Blue Heron Park Complex
What began as the Blue Heron Golf Course, Banquet Hall, and River Styx Grill in 2004 has today been repurposed into one of the most creative community projects in the country — a 252 acre recreational nature preserve consists of three separate but adjoining parks which include a first class mountain bike trail and a lodge-type coffee shop that houses a mountain bike/snow shoe rental business.
Now known as the Blue Heron Park Complex, three beautiful scenic nature reserve-type parks have resulted from grants, contributions and in-kind donations from 25 different agencies and organizations, and scores of volunteers from the community who worked together on various components of the project.
Austin Badger Park contains outdoor fitness stations (donated by the Cleveland Clinic). Also there, mountain bike trails (developed and donated by the Cleveland Mountain Bike Association) were constructed in 2016. More ramps and biking accoutrements are being added in 2018. Spokes II”, a lodge-type coffee shop, mountain bike, and snow shoe rental lodge opened in 2017. Mountain bike enthusiasts can rent various bicycles to try out on the course before buying them and a bike shop in Akron can follow up and make the sale. During the snowy months, outdoor enthusiasts can still enjoy the park by renting snow shoes. And coffee and other refreshments will be available for sale to park users all year round.
The second park to open was Aaron Smith Nature Preserve in 2017. This nature preserve contains walking trails, a field station for nature lovers, and is the home of many types of unusual plants and birds. In 2016, biologists from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History documented the song of the endangered Cerulean Warbler in an area of old growth forest. They also discovered several unusual plants which are now cataloged and stored at their museum. Also during that year, Montville Township received another Clean Ohio Fund Grant to help pay for the cost to connect the forests with native trees there and eliminate invasive species in all three parks.
The third park, Thomas Currier Nature Preserve, is under development.
From Blue Heron Park Complex brochure
Restrooms on site.