From the outside looking in, there is nothing sexy about the Springfield Bog Metro Park. To the untrained eye, it just looks like a bunch of tall, untamed grass.
The bog has an easy 1.6 mile trail that loops around a beautiful prairie, hence its name, the Prairie Trail. The bog was the site of a former farmland and a portion of it is named after the Young family, who settled there in 1877. Young’s bog used to produce huckleberries, which brought pickers from all around Northeast Ohio.
Throughout the 1.6 mile trek, there are over 40 varieties of plants and flowers, countless species of birds, and various wildlife. The trail even crosses over The Continental Divide, which separates a portion of the park. This park is a must-visit in late July and early August since the plants and flowers are in full bloom around this time.
For my first hike there, it was brutally early, but I wanted to check it out during sunrise. As I started on the loop, I crossed paths with an older gentleman named Harry who is a volunteer for the Metro Parks. He walks this park daily. Once I greeted him, he almost immediately started to rattle off every known flower and species that spans the park. He even told me how many rabbits he counted the last time he was there (it was 27).
At this point, it wasn’t even 6 am yet, and since I’m not a morning person and hadn’t had any coffee, my patience level was thin. After each conversation, we would part ways and then he would catch up with me or I would catch up with him. Each interaction brought a new story or new bog facts from Harry. My initial agitation turned to an appreciation for having met someone so passionate for that park, a place at which I had initially snubbed my nose.
This has been one of my favorite things about exploring our local parks: connecting with people who have a genuine love for them. If you take the time to enjoy one of our local Metro Parks, even if you initially think it lacks anything extraordinary, you very well might be surprised by what you find.
Anthony Boarman is a social studies teacher and coach at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. He lives in West Akron with his wife Emily and his dog Ava. He is a lover of all things Akron and enjoys being around dogs more than humans.