Photos, top, courtesy of Alex Goetz
The first Metropark in North Toledo preserves nature in a neighborhood, and fulfills a promise to place a Metropark within 5 miles of every resident of Lucas County.
A 1.3-mile trail with nearly 1,500 feet of concrete "boardwalk" and scenic overlooks offers access into the marsh, where visitors can enjoy an ever-changing array of birds.
The park has a basketball court and picnic tables.
Neighbors and environmental advocates had the foresight to acquire the natural area near Manhattan Boulevard and Suder Avenue, for it's wildlife habitat. In doing so, they also preserved a piece of Toledo history.
Manhattan Marsh is a snapshot of the past. One of the last remnants of a much larger marsh that surrounded Maumee Bay, the area was a popular haven for frogs and toads. Their loud songs made the residents’ ears ring, and early Toledo was quickly dubbed with the name, “Frogtown.”
Manhattan Marsh is home to frogs, toads and turtles, but is best known for birds. Positioned within one of North America’s most significant migratory bird flyways, the marsh is an urban oasis that provides critical stopover habitat. More than 100 species of birds, including warblers and waterfowl, use the Metropark during migration as an important stop to rest and re-fuel.
Built on the speculation of businessmen in the 1830s, Manhattan seemed a perfect choice for the convergence of newly available transportation modes. Chosen for its natural channel and proximity to the Maumee River, Manhattan had some early success with riverboats and steamboats. But this success would be short lived as the Miami and Erie Canal’s Side Cut to Toledo upstaged Manhattan, the long-awaited Ohio railroad never materialized and financial backers withdrew support.
Manhattan survived as a town until 1848, when it lost its plat and was absorbed into Toledo.
When Manhattan Marsh Preserve opens in fall 2020, everyone in Lucas County will live just five miles from a Metropark.