How do you turn a golf course into a Metro Park? Start with 100,000 nuts.
Summit Metro Parks took a big swing toward transforming the former 27-hole Valley View Golf Club (1212 Cuyahoga St., Akron) into a wooded area within Cascade Valley Metro Park, October 27 and 28, 2017. Approximately half of the almost 200-acre property was planted with tens of thousands of walnut and oak nuts, collected locally from native trees. More than 500 volunteers did the plantings in a two-day period.
Biologist Rob Curtis admits the project was a little, well, nuts.
“Although germination rates for many species are usually very low, we screened most of ours in advance and tossed most of the bad nuts,” Curtis explained. “I am hoping we will have high germination rates.”
How can you tell good nuts from bad? With a bucket and water. After soaking, the good ones will sink.
Spokesperson Nathan Eppink said the nut planting event was a way to inexpensively attempt to reforest former fairways and greens, and engage individuals who wanted to support the park district.
“We had been working on the removal of non-native and invasive species since purchasing the property (in 2016). A year later, we gave people a chance to help us grow a park, literally from the ground up,” Eppink added.
Volunteers went out in three shifts each day: at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The site had been prepped by managing for aggressive species of turf and trees, giving the district a sort of blank slate throughout much of the property.
Park planners are finalizing the master plan for the 194-acre Valley View property, which connects Cascade Valley and Gorge Metro Park in Cuyahoga Falls with Sand Run Metro Park in Akron. Its purchase formed the second largest natural area managed by Summit Metro Parks, at just under 1,700 acres, and offers new ways to access the Cuyahoga River and the multipurpose Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, both of which are near the former golf course’s western boundary.
The park district’s first master plan, created by renowned landscape architects the Olmsted Brothers in the 1920s, identified the Valley View property as land worth preserving.