Scioto Audubon has features not typically found at Metro Parks

Climbing wall, obstacle course challenge adventurers

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Scioto Audubon, a partnership between Columbus, Ohio Audubon and Columbus Metro Parks offers a free, outdoor climbing wall and an obstacle course in addition to a dog park, trails and the Grange Insurance Audubon Center.

The park is located at 400 W. Whittier St. near the Brewery District and German Village and sits atop property that formerly housed warehouses and an impound lot.

According to Deputy Metro Parks Director Larry Peck, when planning the park they chose to “look at a different opportunity than what is found at a traditional park.” They wanted to target young professionals living downtown.

The climbing wall, manufactured by Rockwerx of Massachussetts, was the first of its kind to be built. When designing plans for it, the park system sought out input from some of its employees and rangers who are avid climbers. Experienced climbers also give input on the changing of routes on the wall as well.

The 40-foot-high structure accommodates approximately 20 climbers at a time. The use of the wall is free, but climbers must bring their own equipment. Users also must sign a waiver, found at the adjacent bulletin board area highlighting rules and use for the wall.

“It more or less runs on sort of an honor system,” said Peck. The climbing wall at the park is open during the day and as weather permits. There are occasional programs where it is open later. “We do have some openings where it’s open until midnight on select Fridays,” Peck added.

Three auto belays are available for people to use when they are using the wall by themselves. People are encouraged to bring friends and family when using the wall. “It’s a great social activity. Come with a friend or family member,” Peck advises.

The wall is for both experienced and novice climbers and regular, experienced climbers will offer their help or knowledge. “If there’s a climber who doesn’t know what they are doing, another climber will say something,” Peck said.

An obstacle course sponsored by the Columbus Downtown Rotary was added in late 2012. The course currently offers 9 obstacle areas and a short running track.

Located to the far back of the park is a dog park area with three separate enclosures for dogs to run inside. The large and small areas both offer obstacles and the third area is free of any obstacles, but a bucket holds balls for dogs to chase. A large, covered picnic shelter and a drinking fountain, for both dogs and humans, is also featured at the dog park. The park proved so popular that a third area was recently added.

“We added a third area. The turf can rejuvenate in the other area that way,” Peck added.

When asked about future plans for the park, Peck said that they have thrown around some ideas, including plans for a skate park. The parks system does have a lot on its plate with the addition of parks in New Albany and Grove City, but plans for Bocce ball courts near the obstacle course should be completed in 2014 or 2015.

“Imminently, plans for a Bocce ball court will be done in 2014,” Peck said. Plans to add trees to the area are also in the works, according to Peck. “Now that we are settling in, we will start planting trees,” he commented.

For more information about Scioto Audubon Metro Park, visit www.metroparks.net.

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