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Hogback Ridge Park History

Hogback Ridge Park is a hidden gem in eastern Delaware County. Situated along Hogback Road in Brown Twp. near the charming community of Kilbourne at the north end of Alum Creek Reservoir, its location affords visitors a scenic drive through rural Delaware County. Once you enter the park and make your way down the winding drive through tall oaks, beeches, and maples, you are immediately immersed in the sights and sounds of nature. Commonly viewed wildlife includes herons, wood ducks, turtles in the pond, barred owls, piliated woodpeckers, and numerous other species, especially during spring and fall migration periods. 

The park is here today thanks to the foresight and generosity of Mary Barber McCoy who left 32 acres of property to the Park District in 1998. Mrs. McCoy and her husband Dr. McCoy bought the property in the 1960s and built a ranch style home in the woods overlooking Slate Lick Creek, which runs through the property on its way to Alum Creek. According to a July 8, 1998 article in the Delaware Gazette, “Mary McCoy had a lifelong interest in animals and wildlife. ‘She fed everything,’ said Melvin Rheins, estate executor and family friend. This (creation of the park) is in keeping with her lifestyle.” Both Dr. and Mrs. McCoy “loved living out in the woods with the animals” according to Mr. Rheins.  

Upon receiving the property, park staff set about assessing the condition of the house and began making plans for what would become Hogback Ridge Park. With the District renting office space in downtown Delaware and looking for a more permanent home, it was decided that the house and the future park would serve as the Park District’s headquarters. Remodeling of the house began in 1999 with the help of staff and volunteers, including the Delaware Kiwanis Club, which is a source of pride to this day for the club.  Thanks to this hard work, park staff moved into the building in late 1999.  

In 2001 the park entrance drive was paved with funds from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) metropark paving fund. 2001 also marked significant renovations to provide additional work space for new staff. Hogback Ridge Park officially opened to the public in 2002.  

A portion of the district offices was later converted into a small nature center, named in honor of Mary Barber McCoy, it includes a bird viewing room overlooking the same creek that Mary looked out over years before. The nature center was officially opened to the public in 2003. Wanting to provide a buffer to the park, an additional five acres adjoining the south side of the park were purchased, including a house that would provide space for park operations and natural resources staff in 2006, until it was removed in 2019.  

An impressive wooden stairway and bridge over the Slate Lick Creek ravine was constructed in 2009 with NatureWorks grant funding and showcases arguably the most beautiful views of the park. The same year, park staff constructed a wildlife viewing area overlooking the pond in the southeast corner of the property, later removed in 2023 for an open view of the pond. In 2010, construction was completed on a maintenance garage, which serves as storage and workspace for the Natural Resources and Operations Departments today.  

Park expansions in  2011 (3.3 acres) and 2018 (4+ acres) brought the park’s total acreage to just over 44 acres.  

Hogback Ridge Park’s location immediately adjacent to Alum Creek State Park offers expanded recreational opportunities. In 2018, a trail connection was made to the Alum Creek State Park equestrian trail, allowing equestrian riders access to park restrooms and water, and Hogback Ridge trail users access to thirty-eight miles of additional hiking (equestrian) trails.   

Though smaller than most parks in the Preservation Parks system, Hogback Ridge Park is a local favorite of many who come to enjoy the rich display of spring wildflowers including white trillium, yellow trout lily, and Virginia bluebells, as well as the beautiful fall foliage, peaceful trails, and opportunities to view wildlife. It is a Delaware County treasure, and a place that we encourage everyone to visit and enjoy. 

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