SahliSplashB

Nestled behind Chippewa’s bustling shopping centers lies a Beaver County treasure: a 90-acre plot of land generously donated in 2010 to the community to be preserved as pristine forest.

If you’re looking for a place to spend the day outdoors, this gem is worth the visit! It’s by far my favorite place to get in touch with nature, whether I’m going for a run or we’re taking a family hike with the dog.

Since its opening in June 2012, Sahli Nature Park has grown to include several amenities for both people and wildlife. While the bluebirds enjoy their birdhouses, you can enjoy yourself by visiting these notable locations in the park:

Monarch Waystation

As soon as you pull into the drive off of McKinley Road, a small greenhouse sits up on the left amongst a field of wildflowers and milkweed. These plants aren’t just for show. They’re helping feed a group of Monarch butterflies!

The greenhouse serves as a butterfly nursery, helping to expand the fading population. Shame on me for not paying attention in school – I hadn’t realized how much we’re losing these little guys! The beauties at Sahli are reared from little bitty caterpillars into majestic orange creatures, and they’ve been hatching like crazy for the past few weeks! After gently tagging their wings for the Monarch Watch, they’re released to begin their journey.

If you take a stroll behind the wildflowers (on “Chestnut Trail”, per the map), you’ll find a nice little hutch to take a load off and admire the view.

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Nature Park Pavilion

What better place to enjoy a picnic than amongst a gorgeous backdrop of pines and ferns?

While the pavilion is not available for rent, it is accessible from dawn to dusk for public use. A swing set is placed nearby to keep the kiddos entertained, and a water pump provides a hydration station for your four-legged friend. Leashed dogs are welcome; just please clean up after your pup!

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Ponds

Two ponds sit between the picnic area and McKinley Road. This year they were upgraded with aeration systems to improve the environment for the aquatic wildlife of the park. We want happy, healthy bluegills & bullfrogs! A small bridge spans the dam between them, where you can stop to enjoy the serenity of the bubbling water, or take a stroll on the trail that laps the lake.

If you’re into fishing, bring your gear – but barbless hooks only, and all that are caught must be released back into the pond!

Fun Fact: The fireplace above is all that remains of the original 19th century farm house that stood until the late 1950’s.

Information Center

Just up the hill from the pond sits a tiny red cottage, shaded by evergreens and surrounded by luscious ferns. This quaint little building has a history: it was a bath house, a residence, and even once a home for baby Beagles!

Inside you’ll find fantastic “artifacts” from around the park (from antlers & skulls to snakeskins & feathers) and educational posters about the flora & fauna. Don’t forget to sign the guestbook!

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Trails

Sahli Nature Park has breathtaking trails that are well-maintained, and clearly marked by wooden arrow signs with names inspired by the Native American tribes that once lived here (Mingo, Shenango, Delaware, Seneca…)

You can download a PDF trail map here.

Regardless of which path you take, you’ll be surrounded by old forest and the sounds of nature. The ground is padded with pine needles, and dotted with mushrooms and May apples growing amongst the ferns. I’ve crossed paths with a few deer on occasion – they know they’re safe in the preserve!

Enjoy your trip to Sahli, and remember the rule they taught us in Scouts: “Take only pictures, and leave only footprints”!

Ella Parker
BC born & raised, Ella spent her childhood playing in the woods, and her teens exploring them on horseback. These days, when she’s not on duty as a vet tech, she is busy staying active with her beau and their young son.

She is forever curious and has a playful personality, but is also fiercely driven and dedicated to her passions!