BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Paddling, climbing, biking and relaxing are all within reach on Saturday, September 18 during the Outdoor Expo – a free event at Blue Creek Metropark from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Hosted by Metroparks Toledo, the Outdoor Expo will bring skills experts to the Whitehouse park to assist guests of all ages and abilities in trying out tree climbing, rock climbing, bouldering, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, archery, mountain biking and mindfulness. A special area will be designated for younger kids as well. Staff are all trained to assist people of all abilities to try out the activities and adaptive equipment will be available.
In previous years, the Outdoor Expo was held in May at Side Cut Metropark, said spokesman Scott Carpenter. With uncertainty about COVID-19 restrictions, the staff instead decided to plan it in the fall and move the event to Blue Creek Metropark, which features a large quarry, a sledding hill, geological formations and a natural area for bouldering.
Metroparks staff will be bringing the new 32-foot FitPark climbing wall simulator that was purchased through a donation by Mercy Health, as well as bikes to utilize in a course that will be set up. The park has ample parking, and the quarry and other natural features will give visitors a unique experience, Carp-enter said.
“We thought it was a good idea to spotlight Blue Creek, since we don’t know if it’s on everyone’s radar,” he said. “Improvements have been made and continue to be made to the park.”
While the village of Whitehouse has leased the property from the Metroparks for several years – and was responsible for maintenance – the Metroparks organization took over responsibility earlier this year and has made gradual improvements, including the complete renovation of a shelter that is one of the largest in the area. The bouldering area is more accessible now with the addition of fill dirt to prevent flooding, and brush was removed to open up the view and access to the water. A kayak launch and concession make renting a kayak easy using a credit card.
The partnership with the village continues, and Carpenter said the Metroparks will be working with village staff to come up with a plan to improve the large parking area that’s often used by parents driving children to games and practices in the recreational area utilized by the Anthony Wayne Youth Foundation.
For more information on the Outdoor Expo, visit www.metroparkstoledo.com.