A.B. Brooks began his morning nature walks with a quote from Charles Dickens, “The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily with a purpose.”
“Once in while, everyone accepts an invitation, or responds to an urge, to break away from the daily round of duties–if only for a brief hour in new surroundings. Most appealing of such calls usually come from the open country,” said Nat T. Frame, former Director, Oglebay Institute.
Maybe it’s time for you to break away from the daily grind and enjoy some time in nature! The trails at Oglebay are open year-round and are perfect for individuals on a quiet lunch break, busy families who want to introduce their children to nature, or animal lovers looking for a place to run and frolic in the wild.
With our recently installed sign at the trailhead behind the Schrader Center, we’ve included a large-scale map of our trails and a literature holder that includes a printed trail map and information about programs happening at the Schrader Center. Staff naturalists will be posting bird and wildlife sightings, as well as foliage reports, next to the trail map on a regular basis.
The making of the Oglebay Park trails was begun in the fall of 1927, about six months prior to the opening of the general nature program, and was continued from year to year until the ten-mile trail system was completed. At Oglebay, Brooks was legendary for his Sunday morning bird walks which began in the morning at 7:00am and featured an outdoor breakfast cooked over an open fire. Brooks would recite poetry, scripture, and teach of the various birds, trees, flowers, insects, and mammals that called Oglebay Park home. The first guided trip was made to the Falls on April 14, 1928. Three persons in addition to Mr. Brooks made the trip, two from Wheeling and the third from Cleveland. The attendance grew until figures were routinely around 250 persons. According to Brooks’ records, during the ten year period 1928-1938, he led 1,200 nature walks with a total attendance of 51,500.
“As long as the beauty and grandeur of primitive forest scenery is preserved, it will have a powerful influence in shaping the character of people. The great forest, which surrounded the homes of the pioneers, left an indelible mark on their characters. It affected every act of their lives. Its influence was manifested in their manners and customs and conversation. It made men more thoughtful and less talkative and superficial; it furnished the inspiration for many of their great works of prose and poetry; and it breathed into them a spirit of freedom and independence.” ~A.B. Brooks