Extreme fitness comes to Woodland Mound

Thanks to the Great Parks of Hamilton County, more adventure awaits at Woodland Mound. There is often the assumption that one has to travel far to locate new and interesting outdoors activities. Our park system has just brought adventure closer to home with three new obstacle course elements.

The new features at Woodland Mound include inclined monkey bars, vault bars, and a weaver that can be used in multiple ways. The equipment is made out of steel, includes natural wood fiber safety surfacing, and can be accessed along a 1.2-mile paved trail. Following this installation, Great Parks is looking into funding to add additional features and a connector path to create an ADA-compliant obstacle course circuit.

Sean Creighton, landscape architect for Great Parks, explains that the impetus was current users of the park.

“We know of one business group that runs classes on the old fitness trail,” he says. “We had heard (from them) a demand for upgrading the existing fitness equipment. The new course was in response to the request. We are in the middle of master planning on a district-wide improvement.”

“The existing fitness trail is not the most [ADA] accessible,” he continues, “so we decided that rather than upgrade existing equipment, we decided to provide new equipment.”

He adds that they worked with one of the fitness groups that runs programs at Woodland Mounds. The pieces are custom designed to be as accessible as possible so many people can use them, and to offer a high level of challenge to meet the intent of Tough Mudder, Spartan, and more difficult races.

Exercisers can use their imaginations to create individualized workouts.

“One is an incline monkey bars and there is really only one way to use it,” he says. “On the vaults, there are multiple ways to use them. You can do inclined or declined push-ups.”

“In the future, when we complete the addition (5-7 more pieces), we will have a full circuit,” Creighton continues. “This would include a quarter mile running circuit.”

The plan is to continue to improve upon and add to the obstacle course. The phase just completed was paid out of capital improvements (tax payer dollars).

Creighton says, “Our hope is that we will be able to attract a sponsor for the next phase.”

These are designed to be used year-round, weather permitting. Access is open whenever the park is open. Major benefits include overall exercise and, for serious athletes, preparation for competitive events.

The course adds a community location for anyone inclined to seek both cardio and strength training — with no gym fees.

“They are designed to meet the current standards for fitness equipment in public spaces,” says Creighton. “It is designed for falls (thanks to a safety surface underneath the equipment). The possibility of injury is reduced.”

While the frames may look enticing to children, this is an adult-only area. Importantly, they also are designed for the average adult who uses a mobility device.

This is a new endeavor for Great Parks. It is their hope that it will meet current trends in outdoor fitness.

“If it is popular we hope to do more in the future,” says Creighton.

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Jennifer Mooney.

Jennifer Mooney is a reformed corporate communications senior executive. She has also worked in the advertising industry and founded The Mooney Group, LLC, a boutique public relations practice. She is an avid adventurer and traveler, which includes climbing/hiking, open water swimming, and downhill skiing. She is a downtown resident and is married to Donald Mooney. She has two grown daughters.