The opening of the long-awaited Cannaley Treehouse Village at Oak Openings Metropark in Swanton was celebrated Wednesday morning.
The treehouse village is located at the Beach Ridge Area, a 500-acre addition to Oak Openings just south of Airport Highway. The area is also a trailhead for the Beach Ridge Singletrack Trail and the Mercy FitPark: Ride mountain bike skills course.
Metroparks Executive Director Dave Zenk said the Cannaley Treehouse Village is part of changing the way both residents and non-residents look at the area.
“We have benchmark communities across the midwest that have done exactly what we’re doing here. That have leveraged their natural resources, that have created unique experiences to connect people to nature and are doing so to re-position their communities and make them more competitive,” he said. “A treehouse village, one of the country’s largest treehouse villages, in Swanton, does exactly that.”
The Village was paid for with more than $1.5 million in individual and corporate donations raised by the Metroparks Toledo Foundation.
“Many of you are here today because you played some role in making this happen,” Zenk said. “And it’s a real testament to what can occur when the community rallies around a vision. There were over 750 donors that came together to make this happen.”
He added, “”If there’s one person here today that made this project possible, it’s Linda Cannaley.”
The campaign to finance the Village with private donations was the first initiative of the Metroparks Toledo Foundation, which exceeded its $1.5 million fundraising goal by $300,000.
Lead contributor Linda Najarian Cannaley, a Swanton native, said her late husband, Jim, “would be smiling from ear to ear” about a Treehouse Village on property the couple once owned adjacent to Oak Openings Preserve Metropark. Cannaley sold the property to the park district several years ago to become part of the preserve.
“The Cannaley Treehouse Village in addition to the 12 mile mountain bike trail are creating a great deal of positive attention to the Village of Swanton,” said Swanton Mayor Neil Toeppe. “They are attracting visitor to our village that might not otherwise have found us. All of these new visitors to the area present an opportunity for us to attract them to our restaurants, our businesses on Airport Highway, and to our newly bustling shops on Main Street. They might even visit Main Street for some donuts, coffee or a glass of wine.
“It is wonderful that we have such a unique, one of a kind venue unlike any in Ohio.”
The village includes five treehouses and three tent platforms. It was designed by Nelson Treehouse and Supply of “Treehouse Masters” show on Animal Planet and constructed by the Metroparks construction crew.
“I am really privileged to have seen and been a part of a lot of treehouse projects around the country and the world,” said Pete Nelson of Nelson Treehouse and Supply. “It’s a rare thing to see a dream of this magnitude come together in such an incredibly detailed, beautifully executed way.
“Your community has to be one of the strongest ones around with 750 people donating to make this happen. To have that vision — and I think you all shared it to make it happen. Really remarkable, and (I am) proud to be a small part of this.”
The Village includes five furnished treehouses with electricity, heat and air conditioning and screen rooms, plus three camping platforms in the trees.
For overnight stays, the six-person treehouse will be $200 per night for Metroparks members and $225 for others. The four-person treehouse is $175 per night for members and $200 for others. The two-person treehouses are $125 per night for members and $150 for non-members.
The tent and hammock platforms are $30 for non-members and $20 for members.
The Flatwood Commons Treehouse is available for day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Reservations are now being accepted for overnight stays. Visit MetroparksToledo.com for instructions. The first 500 people selected in a raffle drawing this spring were given the initial opportunity to make reservations.
Reach Drew or Max at 419-335-2010