Staying active comes naturally in Ottawa County

May 14, 2024 | Ottawa Outdoors | 0 comments

Swimming and fishing ponds offer family fun all summer long.

BY SHERI TRUSTY

Although winter on the lake has its own unique charms, summertime opens the door to many more outdoor activities in Ottawa County. The ice has melted off the lake, the northern winds have turned to soft breezes, and locals and tourists are ready to head outside.

Aside from Lake Erie, one of the area’s richest natural resources is the Portage River Water Trail. It was designated as Ohio’s 17th official water trail in July, 2022. The 36-mile water trail winds through Ottawa, Sandusky and Wood counties and offers paddling, birding and fishing opportunities.

“There are great access points in the area for paddle sports. There are several launches all along the Portage River Water Trail,” said Park District of Ottawa County Executive Director, Jannah Wilson. “There are new launches at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds and in Elmore.”

A map of the Portage River Water Trail can be found here: https://dam.assets.ohio.gov/image/upload/ohiodnr.gov/documents/parks/watertrails/PortageRiverWaterTrail.pdf.

Trent Goatee, left, and Emily Federkiel often bring their dogs, Leo and Brinley, to the dog park at Hopfinger Zimmerman Memorial Park.

For those who prefer to be active on land, the North Coast Inland Trail offers nearly 100 miles of paved trail across northern Ohio.

“The North Coast Inland Trail offers the best option for off-road biking and walking,” Wilson said. “They just completed the section by Veterans Memorial Park in Genoa.”

Veterans Memorial Park is a 45-acre park which includes the Genoa Quarry, which offers swimming and fishing. The park features picnic tables, a playground and horseshoe pits. Genoa Big Dipper ice cream shop is next door.

In addition to the North Coast Inland Trail, several parks throughout Ottawa County offer short-loop walking trails for exercise and birding. Included among them are Meadowbrook Marsh in Danbury Township, East Harbor State Park in Marblehead, and Magee Marsh Wildlife Area and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Oak Harbor.

An extensive playground and shelter house make Hopfinger Zimmerman a favorite stop for families.

Hopfinger Zimmerman Memorial Park in Port Clinton is a family-friendly park with many amenities and activities for all ages. The park features a playground, pickleball courts, basketball courts, a dog park, a pavilion and swimming and fishing ponds.

Emily Federkiel and Trent Goatee of Port Clinton often take their dogs, Brinley and Leo, to the dog park at Hopfinger Zimmerman.

“It’s my favorite park. We bring our dogs here for socialization, and the agility course is great for high-energy dogs,” Federkiel said. “This park is great. I like the duality of being suitable for children and dogs.”

The Park District of Ottawa County will host a free Bike Safety Camp for Ottawa County children ages 7 to 12 on Wednesday, July 31, at Hopfinger Zimmerman Park. The kids will learn bike repair and maintenance, maneuverability, nutrition and exercise and bike safety. A bike is required to participate in Bike Safety Camp, but a limited number of free bikes will be given away. Registration is required. For more information, visit the Park District of Ottawa County Facebook page.

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