Last week, I featured Big Creek Park. Just around the corner is Whitlam Woods. This park has two streams running through deep ravines that flow right into Big Creek. Part of Whitlam Woods is leased from the Geauga County Board of Commissioners. In 1959, Fred Whitlam sold property in Hunting Valley, specifying that proceeds be used to purchase wooded land in Geauga County. This land was to be held by the Geauga County Board of Commissioners as a “Memorial Forest in commemoration of the memory of Fred Whitlam, his parents, William and Mary Whitlam, and other pioneers of Geauga County and the Western Reserve.”
This land was to be held by the Geauga County Board of Commissioners as a “Memorial Forest in commemoration of the memory of Fred Whitlam, his parents, William and Mary Whitlam, and other pioneers of Geauga County and the Western Reserve.”
In 1976, the 100-acre park was opened after an agreement was drawn up with the county commissioners for Geauga Park District to manage and operate the park. Geauga Park District purchased additional land in the years following to further protect wildlife and provide outdoor enjoyment for the residents of Geauga County.
The forest at Whitlam Woods consists mainly of hemlock, beech, and maple trees. The forest floor is a carpet of wildflowers and several types of mosses. Each spring, towhees, indigo buntings, and goldfinches nest in the shrubby meadow at the front of the park. The aerial courtship flights of the American woodcock can be seen here in the spring as well. The dense thickets and grapevines provide shelter for a variety of wildlife, including ruffed grouse, deer, turkey, and fox.
One and a half miles of trails take you through the various habitats of the park. The Overlook Trail provides scenic views of the ravine and the forest. The Bridge Trail goes down through the ravine, over one of the streams, and up the steep slope on the opposite ridge. The Sugarbush and Titmouse Trails are loops, offering hikers a choice of hiking distances, passing through either the mature beech-maple forest and the remains of an old sugarhouse or through the young red maple forest.
I have never actually been to this park. I hope to visit in the spring when this cold weather leaves and the wildflowers start popping. I will be sure to have my camera in hand to see if I can capture any shots of the birds in the meadow or any other wildlife. I will be sure to post them on our Facebook page.
[Take a virtual tour of Whitlam Woods with Naturalist John Kolar. If you would like to see more videos by the Geauga Park District, click here.]
“Take a hike, bring your binoculars and your camera, and enjoy what nature has to offer.”
12500 Pearl Road
The online home for Whitlam Woods, from which information for this article was obtained, can be found HERE.