COSHOCTON, Ohio − A new organization has formed with the goal of revitalizing walking paths at the former Hilltop Golf Course, owned by Lake Park.
Chris Wilson of the Hilltop Trails group said the paved paths have been dormant for years and are underneath several years of natural overgrowth of vegetation. He said they want to clean-up the area and create a walking path system on the scenic hill as a viable destination for outdoor fun and exploration for the community.
Currently, volunteers are being sought to help with the clearing of vegetation and mowing. Wilson said he plans to work on the site one or two days a week with the larger group coming together about once a month. He said they’ve cleared about three-quarters of a mile as proof of concept to the Lake Park board to show them what could be possible.
The area has been used for the Coshocton Indian Mud Run adult obstacle course and a new disc golf course, Eagle Ridge Disc Golf, is being created on the site as well. Hilltop Golf Course was founded as a nine-hole course in 1918 and closed in 2016.
Wilson estimates there is about seven miles of former cart paths at the site. He first went to the site to help with the disc golf course and noticed the paved trails going to waste.
“As I walked back through the area, I realized they were all still there, they were just overgrown. Some are in pretty rough shape, but I would just like to have a better running and walking path, and possible bike path, that’s more challenging than at Lake Park,” Wilson said.
The vision is to provide a demanding, yet safe and scenic, path for runners and walkers while using the paved paths that already exist, Wilson said. They could also be used for training for local cross country teams and running clubs and host cross country invitationals. Wilson said currently the local school districts don’t have a challenging enough environment to host such events.
The paths could also be used for park sponsored 5K and 10K events, bird watching and for local scout troops to mark paths and scenic points of interest part of their activities.
“It’s having more challenging courses to run and walk to train for not only the cross country teams, but also those who do 5Ks in other areas of the state. They need hills without automotive traffic and that, to me, was the bigger thing. When I walk the park district, there’s the hills at the pavilion, but really no challenging hills,” Wilson said. “Even as a walker, when you continue to walk flat courses, your heart rate gets used to that. You have to add some hills or start running and some folks just can’t run, because of age or their back, but they can walk hills.”
Long term goals include clearing the entire system for public use with an event to celebrate the revitalization of the property and partnering with other organizations for grant funding and sponsorships to build and maintain new paths. This could include clearing the forest paths as well.
Wilson said the short term goal is to clear enough land to host an Apple Butter 5K for the Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival Oct. 21-23 in Roscoe Village and to maintain the trails for fall and winter walking. He feels the 5K would not only draw more attention to the project, but bring in more people for the festival.
“If you’re going to hold a festival, work in conjunction with other folks in the community to offer more things and they’ll actually stay in the hotels and spend time in the restaurants. If you give them more than one item to come too, then they’ll spend more than a couple hours in Coshocton,” Wilson said.