Outdoor lovers will be able to explore more of the terrain at the Oswego County Nature Park at Camp Zerbe, thanks to the efforts of the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District and a grant from Entergy Nuclear.
Erica Schreiner, environmental educator, and Joe Chairvolotti, district forester with the Soil and Water Conservation District, are overseeing the project to extend a trail at the nature park this summer and fall.
“Our agency received a $9,000 grant from the Entergy Environmental Stewardship program,” said Schreiner. “The funds will be used to add about one-third mile to an existing trail that winds along the east side of Lake Lorraine. Most of the trail work will be done by a contractor later this summer, and Entergy will hold a work day in the fall when employees will install markers and lay wood chips on the trail.”
The Oswego County Nature Park at Camp Zerbe is owned by Oswego County and operated by the Oswego City-County Youth BureauÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Division of Parks and Recreation. Located east of Happy Valley Wildlife Management Area on state Route 104, the park was purchased by the county from the Syracuse Boys Club in 1991.
“We are very appreciative of Entergy for sponsoring the grant, and to the Soil and Water District for their initiative in overseeing this project,” said Kathleen Fenlon, director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau. “The nature park at Camp Zerbe offers a unique outdoor experience, with trails, picnic areas, and many species of birds and wildlife. The trail extension will give people an opportunity to explore a beautiful section of our county.”
“Entergy is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainable growth,” said D. Patricia Riddlebarger, director of Entergy Corporate Responsibility, in announcing the award. “The legacy of that commitment will be a cleaner world today and for generations to come. We commend you for joining us in creating a better and safer environment for us all.”
The trail leads from the parking area on state Route 104 and across a large open field to Lake Lorraine, where visitors are treated to a panoramic view of the lake. The lake may be used for canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Lake Lorraine is the largest of three rare “kettlehole” lakes in the park, and was formed at the end of the last Ice Age by immense chunks of retreating glacier.
Two buildings at the Camp Zerbe Nature Park have been dedicated to late members of the Oswego County Legislature who were instrumental in Camp ZerbeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s development by Oswego County.
The William H. Britton Nature Interpretive Center contains educational displays about local geology and birds, plants and animals. The center is named for Bill Britton, who served several terms as legislator from Williamstown.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â He was a member of the original Camp Zerbe planning committee and on the LegislatureÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Community Development and Planning Committee.
The Patrick “Paco” Malone Meeting Center is available for use by community groups and youth programs. Legislator Malone was from Oswego and was an enthusiastic supporter for developing the nature park as an educational and recreational resource for Oswego County.
A picnic area, ball fields, pavilion and restrooms are also available. The park is open from dawn to dusk. Facilities may also be reserved for group and family gatherings by contacting the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau at 349-3451 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3451.
Additional information about the park is available at the Oswego County Web site at http://www.co.oswego.ny.us/youth/CZerbe/Zerbe.html