BRUNSWICK – With the Brunswick Lake Dino Trail on the verge of becoming extinct, the pathway’s creator and several additional residents appeared before City Council Monday night pleading that the city keep the trail at its current location.
If their pleas weren’t enough to make council reconsider the Medina County Park District’s plans to remove or relocate the trail, they brought along backup – Jurassic backup, that is.
Brunswick resident Steven Girard, who is also the pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church, was one of those who addressed the importance of maintaining the trail as one of the park’s educational components. As he addressed council at the podium, he asked five other members of the audience to join him.
Those five individuals were dressed up in inflatable dinosaur costumes in an attempt to illustrate that the Dino Trail is not only well-loved but one of many features that makes Brunswick unique.
Joining him was Dino Trail Creator Glen Kuban, who has appeared before council several times in recent months after learning of the park district’s plans to eliminate the Dino Trail as part of the county’s newly developed master plan for the park.
Though the park district, which has a 50-year lease to operate and maintain Brunswick Lake Park, has unveiled its plans for the site, the master plan has not been formally approved by the city to date, which means the Dino Trail remains on the park’s endangered species list.
Though city and county officials have suggested the trail be moved to another city park, Kuban told council July 22 that excavating the concrete trail and relocating it would not only be cumbersome but costly.
“Recreating the trail somewhere else would be easier and cheaper than trying to move it and would also eliminate the risk of breakage,” he said. “This way, you could also make the new track as long as you want it to be.”
Kuban was commissioned by the now-defunct Brunswick ArtWorks to design the one-of-a-kind exhibit for the park in 2013. The 100-foot-long, 4-foot-wide trail, located on the eastern shores of Brunswick Lake, features impressions of actual dinosaur feet that have been found throughout the world.
To have such a collection in one location, he says, is priceless.
“This trail showcases over 130 footprints from more than a dozen species of dinosaurs from several different locations, plus tracks and impressions from other prehistoric creatures,” Kuban said. “As far as I know, the attraction represents more dinosaur species, geologic ages and sites than any other track exhibit in the world.”
Another key feature, Kuban said, is that the tracks are arranged from oldest to youngest so that visitors are essentially “walking through time” as they proceed up the walkway.”
“It starts with some of the oldest tracks from the Triassic Period (tracks over 200 million years old),” featuring two parallel trails and claw marks of a crocodile-like phytosaur,” said Kuban, a former Brunswick resident. “Continuing along the trackway, the various sizes and types of the Jurassic section include those of two baby dinosaurs and rare prints of squatting dinosaurs.”
And that’s only the beginning, Kuban said. All of the Dino Trail tracks were made by hand – each mold representing hours of work.
“The few other outdoor dinosaur track exhibits (around the nation and the world) use all-sculpted tracks, which look less than natural, or pre-made individual track casts merged into concrete, which is extremely time- and labor-intensive and leaves seams that tend to crack open in time,” he said.
In addition to the trail, Kuban, who is a former Brunswick resident, created and installed an interpretive panel to help visitors to the site understand what it is and which creatures were used to make the impressions.
“In the six years since it was installed, the Dino Trail has been enjoyed by countless residents and visitors, including teachers, students, and professional scientists who have used it to learn about dinosaurs and their behaviors,” he said. “Whenever I am at the site, many adults and children often comment on how interesting it is.”
As part of a public meeting to unveil master plans for Brunswick Lake Park this spring, park district officials said the display does not fit in at the site and called the trail “a tripping hazard,” necessitating the need for its removal and possible relocation to another city park. Instead, the master plan proposal now calls for a more “passive” park, featuring a walking trail closer to Brunswick Lake, boat launches, fishing piers, restroom facilities and more.
Several council members have vocalized their support for maintaining the trail in recent weeks, most recently at-large Councilman Brian Ousley who urged the rest of council to support efforts to maintain the trail at its current site.
“We need to change the county’s perception that this is a ‘trail to nowhere,’” Ousley said this week. “This is one of those times the county park district needs to listen to the residents. This park still belongs to the city and its residents, not the county.”