A 1,350-foot path will be constructed through the nature preserve at Woodward Park, with the help of a $28,476 grant given to the city by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

A 1,350-foot path will be constructed through the nature preserve at Woodward Park, with the help of a $28,476 grant given to the city by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The path will be five feet wide and constructed of crushed stone. It will include a low boardwalk, said Terri Leist, Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks spokes-woman.

The grant provides the city with 75 percent of the funds needed to complete the $38,000 trail.

As part of the project, the city will block off some of the paths made by walkers through the 32-acre nature preserve.

Those unplanned paths have taken a toll on the preserve and damaged the park's vernal pools -- mini wetlands that provide breeding grounds for amphibians and dry up by late summer, said Elayna Grody, the former Columbus natural resources manager who applied for the grant.

Walkers also cause damage by compressing the soil through the woods and killing plant life, she said.

A bike trail currently borders the eastern side of the preserve, and Grody said the new path will provide walkers with access to the preserve without causing any harm.

The crushed stone will provide a porous surface that will continue to allow water to trickle through the ground.

The boardwalk will provide walkers with a path over a marshy portion of the preserve, Grody said.

Ideally, she said, the city would install other paths through the preserve in the future to allow residents to enjoy the park safely.

Leist said construction on the trail is set to start next year, but a date for that has not yet been set.

Volunteers began preparing for the new trail earlier this year by blocking off some of the existing trails and transplanting plants that would be in the way of the trail.

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com

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