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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Parks & Recreation

Ravine Park

Ravine Park is a large ninety-acre park that starts on the west end near the downtown and extends about one and one-half miles east. The western part of the park is a wooded area with a stream, Brady’s Branch, running through it. It also contains a one-half mile nature trail with five pedestrian bridges. This western section of the park has many springs that keep the stream flowing constantly. The middle section is approximately 30 acres that contains a very large shelter, two small shelters, pool, community building, picnic tables, park benches and the Jackson Street trail that runs behind the large pavilion. Playground equipment includes bouncy animals, swings, climbers, slides, basketball goal, Frisbee golf and horseshoe pitching. The eastern section of the park, Arms Woods, contains thirty-five acres of woods with trails. A new bridge was dedicated to former Mayor Butch Swift in 2016. This bridge can be found in the northwest section of the Arms Woods trail system.

Portland Arch Nature Preserve

Portland Arch Nature Preserve is a beautiful 436 acres with its sandstone gorge and meandering creek that follows the well-worn path of the preserve. Also found in large quantities are cliffs, forests, open prairies, spring-seep wetlands and savannas – all offering an abundance of plants, wildflowers and trees.

Portland Arch Nature Preserve takes its name from a sandstone arch carved by Spring Creek, a small tributary of Bear Creek. While not the largest arch in Indiana, this National Natural Landmark is arguably the best known. The preserve encompasses the wooded valleys, ravines and rocky cliffs around the lowest section of Bear Creek, which flows northwest toward the Wabash River. A few native white pine are mixed with oaks and hickories on the thin mantle of soil on steep slopes. The ground is covered with mosses and lichens, and supports scattered beds of blueberry, huckleberry, and wintergreen. This is the only place in the state of Indiana where Canada blueberry is found. Vertical cliff faces have small crevices form which grow bulb let, hayscented, and marginal shield ferns. Several colonies of Forbe’s saxifrage are found in larger pockets of soil. Liverworts cover moist portions of some rocks, and are occasionally joined by the creeping fronds of walking fern.

Portland Arch has been recognized for its uniqueness since the first settlers came to Western Indiana. A resort and then a Boy Scout camp were located in this area in the past, and building foundations are still visible in places. There are two parking areas and trails, north and south; the arch lies along the former. Brochures are sometimes available at the trail entrances.

North Trail: After passing through the entrance stile, turn right. You’ll descend gradually at first, the veer left and descend dramatically into the bottom of the ravine formed by Spring Creek.

A cliff rises to your left, sometimes overhanging the path, while the creek is to your right. Soon Spring Creek takes a sharp left and cuts straight through the cliff face, quickly joining Bear Creek on the other side.

The view of the bluffs between markers 16 and 17 is especially impressive; exuberant fern occupy deep fissures in the rock face.

Swallows nest in these cliffs, and while they ceaselessly patrol for insects over water that alternately runs swift or backs up in clear quiet pools, mosquitoes still prosper. Eventually the trail makes a hard left towards a cliff; check the dry sandy soil under overhangs for the conical traps of ant lions that metamorphose into improbably beautiful and delicate adults.

From here, the path makes another hard left and begins climbing out of the valley, thence back to the parking area.
South Trail: This trail explores a section of the Bear Creek canyon further upstream, passing at times through areas only recently acquired and now reverting to forest. It does not have the same scenic appeal as its companion, and receives many fewer visitors.

You’ll approach Bear Creek a couple of times, but most of the tread is through woods, including a rather long level stretch like an old railroad bed. Look here for fire pink in early summer.

After approaching Bear Creek for the second time, the path climbs left and drops into, then quickly climbs out of, another ravine with an intermittent stream. From there it’s a short walk back to the parking area.

Circle Park

Circle Park

Circle Park is a small neighborhood park encircled by houses bordering Ruby Road and David Drive. It contains a basketball goal, swings, merry-go-round and a bench.

McDonald Park

McDonald Park

McDonald Park is a one square block area in the center of Attica containing four basketball goals, two tennis courts that have also been marked for pickleball use, a bandstand, various playground equipment, and picnic tables. There are two handicap accessible parking spots located on the east side of the park facing the alley. All other parking is street parking along the west and north sides of the park.

Happy Walter Field

Happy Walter Field

Happy Walter Field is property owned by Harrison Steel Castings Company, maintained by the City and located in the southern part of the City on South Perry Street. The area contains a concession stand with grandstands for seating. There are three baseball and softball diamonds as well as a basketball goal located on this facility.

 

West Street Park

West Street Park

West Street Park is a park located at the corner of West Street and Derrick Street. It contains a small shelter, picnic table, park benches, a climbing wall, merry-go-round, 2 sets of swings and a slide. Across the street, bordered by West and Fifth Streets, a basketball court can be found.

Ouabache Park

Ouabache Park

Ouabache Park contains eighteen acres located adjacent to the Wabash River and has a paved boat ramp. The park contains a small shelter. There are handicap accessible restrooms available as well as four tent campsites, one of which is handicap accessible. The bathroom facility, handicap accessible sidewalks and camp sites were paid for in part by a grant from the DNR and the Wabash River Heritage Corridor Commission. The bathrooms are only available from May 1 – October 31.  They remain locked all year round. From May 1-Oct 31, campers may call 765-793-2449 to request that the Attica Police Department unlock the bathrooms.  There is no charge to camp.  Campers are not required to register with the City.  The camp sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

There is also a wildlife sanctuary next to the camping area in Ouabache Park.

Riley Park

Riley Park

Riley Park is a three and eight¬-tenths acre area with two soccer fields located off of Summit Street.