To the Editor:

As a person who has enjoyed the running sports for over 50 years, I have seen my share of tracks, sidewalks, roads, and trails while logging the miles. But nowhere have I felt as relaxed and at home as running the trails at Preservation Parks of Delaware County.

With an emphasis on conservation, exploration and learning, the parks have a different feel from our township parks, which are mainly athletic fields and playgrounds. Preservation Parks are a rustic piece of Ohio with access trails and nature centers. And you won’t have to travel far or worry about a parking space.

Although there are currently 9 park locations around Delaware County, my experience is primarily with Emily Traphagen, Deer Haven, and Shale Hollow Parks in the southern part of the county. Truth be told, I don’t take advantage of the various programs and facilities mentioned on the park website. I warm up, stretch, run, cool down, and then leave. I’m not taking the time to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature as maybe I should be.

But this is what else I see:

Friendly people walking alone, with another, or as a family unit. People walking well-mannered dogs on leashes. People taking photos of or just observing everything having to do with nature. People sitting quietly by the pond, maybe thinking or just zoning out. Deer running across my path. Professional photographers taking family and senior year pictures. A guy on his knee proposing to his girlfriend. A birthday party or group get-together at a shelter. A small wedding in a quiet, secluded corner.

Yes, at times I have changed my jogging trajectory out of respect for what I see up ahead. But it is all good. I have yet to meet a person at Preservation Parks who I didn’t like. And every situation kind of fits in with the purpose of the park.

We need to preserve these oases of nature in the midst of ever-expanding human impact. For our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Richard Barthelmes

Dublin, Ohio

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