Student team: Restored Olentangy needs a boardwalk

boardwalkAttention, all birders: Are you sick of your birding being interrupted by bikers screaming “To your left!”? Do you wish you had a place to go birding without someone scaring all the birds away? Do you want to walk 10 feet without seeing litter? If you answered yes to all these questions, you’ll like what you’re about to hear.

Following completion of the 5th Avenue dam removal project, wetland restoration along the Olentangy River on Ohio State’s campus will take place in the next five years. Along with this restoration, a plan for a boardwalk through the wetland could be put into action.

Now you’re probably asking, “How can a boardwalk help birders?” A boardwalk would mean birders wouldn’t have to fear bikers (who are part of a greener Ohio State too). It would provide a better, safer, litter- and debris-free place to walk and watch birds from. And it would protect the restored wetland’s plant life (which faces its own challenges: click here and here).

The restored wetland will attract more birds, which in turn will attract more birders. Providing a boardwalk for them and for other visitors could lead to a new Ohio State tradition, one where nature and outdoor recreation (not just birding but fishing, etc.) are a large part of the campus and surrounding community (whose involvement is key to the river’s restoration).

So if you want to optimize your birding experience, and the campus experience overall, put your support toward Ohio State building a boardwalk along the Olentangy River.

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