Wildlife Woods, while not in Hudson, is a Hudson park, and was the incentive to form our Park Board. In late 1958, William Shilts, who had been a Hudson resident since 1919, offered Hudson 60-plus acres of land off Boston Mills Road within Boston Township for a wildlife preserve. He had purchased the acreage in the late 1920s for family use for picnics and camping. There was a small cabin, and a rudimentary drive cut into the steep property. There was originally a lake on the property which is no longer there - perhaps because of the construction of the Ohio Turnpike, which now bisects the property.
Because there was not yet a park board in Hudson, a committee was formed to look into the matter of how to receive Mr. Shilts' offer. In January, 1959 the first meeting of the provisional park board was held at the Hudson Town Hall. In November of that year, voters of Hudson approved the chartering of the Hudson Township Park District, and in December three newly designated commissioners were sworn in as Hudson's first Park Board. They reported directly to the Hudson Township Trustees, an arrangement which continued until the merger of the township and village in 1994. Once the Park Board was sworn in and able to conduct business, plans moved forward to identify park locations. In May, 1960, Hudson residents approved the first levy for funds to obtain Wildlife Park (as it was called originally) and Cascade Park.
Wildlife Park opened in June, 1961 with a Scout cabin under construction. As I was writing this column, Cindy and Dave Danford, back in town to visit their father, stopped in the Visitor Center. Dave remembers a Boy Scout trip in the 1960s that started in Hudson on bikes and ended at Wildlife Woods where they camped overnight.
The park has remained much as it was in 1961 with the exception of the Ohio Turnpike and the creation of the Cuyahoga Valley Recreation Area in 1974, which made Wildlife Park an island surrounded by federal park lands. One final change occurred in August 1983 when the Park Board gave approval for a section of the Buckeye Trail to pass through the park. Hudson resident Ann Briechle wrote that Wildlife Woods is one of her favorite hikes as it is nearby and offers some great uphill hiking since it attaches to the Buckeye and horse trails in the national park. She says it's a perfect entry point.
Where in Hudson is this? I know of at least six – where have YOU seen one? Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Hudson’s Restaurant. This month’s winner of a $25 Hudson gift card courtesy of RE/MAX Trinity Realty is trail runner and hiker John Bell.