OAK HILLS PARK
NATURE ADVISORY COMMITTEE (OHPNAC)
Welcome to the Oak Hills Park Nature Center
Advocating for Sustainability
The Oak Hills Park Natural Advisory Committee (OHPNAC) is a volunteer body of Norwalk residents whose mission is to advocate for the continued conservation, protection, enjoyment, and sustainability of the natural environment at Oak Hills Park. Our efforts are aimed at bringing awareness to this special nature preserve in our community. We believe this is an asset for our city, setting a high standard for others to follow. The existing nature trails and garden areas provide a unique oasis of tranquility and sites for community events and activities right here in our own backyard.
An existing nature trail, renovated in 2014 as an Eagle Scout service project, is marked by oval green “Nature Trail” signs at both the eastern edge of the restaurant parking lot and at the edge of the Fountain Garden. The main trail, suitable for all ages, takes hikers down into a 1.5 mi. woodland setting, a magical experience in the midst of suburbia. Along the way visitors can explore natural flora and fauna. The trail has 3 branches, demarcated with rectangular paint blazes on strategic trees that terminates at the southern end of the Great Lawn. Emblazoned in blue is the “Main” trail; emblazoned in orange is the “Cutback”, a short but steep loop that branches uphill and returns to the “Nature Trail” trailhead sign; and emblazoned in yellow is the “North Trail”, a short branch which cuts off to the west and terminates at the stone wall of the Fountain Garden.
Garden and Meadow Areas
As part of the Oak Hills Park master plan, 2 areas of the park were revitalized in 2016-2017 with major landscaping. The “old rose garden,” including a fountain and stone wall, located at the northeastern end of the restaurant parking lot, is newly designated as the Fountain Garden. The field located to the east of the employee parking lot is newly designated as the Great Lawn. Both are works in progress with lawn, garden plantings, natural meadows, and pathways in their design. They serve as venues for events, community gatherings, family activities, and informal relaxation and enjoyment of nature.
Highlighting aesthetic beauty as well as biodiversity, the planting plans call for native, sustainable, and disease-resistant plants in a variety of colors, shapes, and bloom times. They will support pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and birds; and will provide food, shelter and nesting sites for wildlife
Signage and Interpretation
Future plans include installation of plant identification plaques, improved wayfinding signage, and interpretive kiosks to provide information about natural features such as native and specialty trees, birds and other wildlife, and geological elements on the Oak Hills Park property.
The interpretive and informational signage emphasis will be on conservation, protection, and sustainability of our native environment in addition to the experience of wild habitat. These signage additions will enhance the park’s appeal for bird-watchers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts of all ages.
The Oak Hills Park Nature Advisory Committee (OHPNAC) was formed in January 2015 as an ad hoc committee to assist the Oak Hills Park Authority in the protection and betterment of the natural resources in the park. We advocate for the continued conservation, protection, and sustainability of the natural environment at Oak Hills Park. We will continue to bring awareness to the park and its nature areas. We believe this is a positive step for Norwalk, setting a high standard for other communities to follow.