Toledo Metroparks turning to tree houses – yes, tree houses – to attract visitors

Toledo Metroparks is trying something new to attract visitors.

A village of tree houses (yes, tree houses) is currently under construction in the Oak Openings Preserve section of the park system.

Attendees of the annual Outdoor Writers of Ohio Conference in May got a preview and tour of the building site.

The $1.5 million project is set for completion in spring 2020. Private funding is covering that bill.

“We’ve raised $1.4 million so far – mostly from small donors,” said Scott Carpenter, public relations director for the metroparks system.

All eight tree houses and camping platforms will be available for overnight and day rental by the general public.

“We plan to hold a drawing this winter for early opportunities to stay,” Carpenter said. “There’s been so much interest.”

The village will include two two-person tree houses, one four-person and one six-person, three tent/hammock platforms for overnight campers, a general use “crow’s nest,” and one common area tree house that will accommodate up to 50 people for meetings, conferences, and gatherings of all sorts.

A system of boardwalks, canopies, and swinging bridges will connect some of the houses for easy access.

All houses will be fully furnished with heating, air conditioning, and electric service provided. Some are ADA accessible.

Each will have a composting toilet. Additional restrooms with showers are available in the nearby trailhead building.

Metroparks staff consulted with Nelson Treehouse & Supply of Washington State to plan the project. Pete Nelson of cable TV’s Treehouse Masters owns the company. It has designed hundreds of tree houses all over the globe.

The location of the metroparks tree houses is ideal, according to Carpenter. It is adjacent to the park’s new 11-mile mountain bike trail.

“The new, 500-acre section of Oak Openings will become a true destination for both local and out-of-town visitors,” according to metroparks literature.

Categories: Ohio – Jane Beathard

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