NE Ohio Parks See A Boost In Facilities And Visits
In Japan there’s a physical and mental therapy called “forest bathing.” It’s done by simply walking or relaxing in a forest. People in Northeast Ohio took their opportunities this year to de-stress in nature.
Cleveland Metroparks celebrated its 100th year in 2017 and saw growth on several fronts. In fact, it’s been a good year for many county metro parks in Northeast Ohio.
Some 500 volunteers went a little nuts this fall at the former Valley View Golf Course in Akron. They used a giant slingshot to fire 100,000 acorns and reseed the fairways into a new Summit Metro Parks forest.
Cleveland Metroparks is converting a couple golf courses in Beachwood and Walton Hills.
“It’ll take many many years,” said spokesman Kelly Manderfield, “but we already get a lot of positive feedback from the community that they’re able to take advantage of it, go out there in an era that is really built up, and sneak away to a peaceful green space.”
Acquisitions have added about 2000 acres since 2010 to Cleveland Metroparks, which has 18 large reservation parks.
Cleveland Metroparks opened the new $4.5 million dollar Edgewater beach house this summer and it turned out to be a hit. Winning an $8 million dollar federal TIGER Grant this year, said Manderfield, will help get more people to Lake Erie.
“So in the next several years you’ll continue to see more and more trails, connectors, and bridges that will allow folks to travel from downtown Cleveland and the inner rings of Cleveland right to the lakefront,” she said.
Lorain Metro Parks celebrated their own anniversary this year – 60 years. They worked to restore Cascade Park in Elyria and add trails to the Black River Bikeway Extension.
Portage Parks used some donations and grants to add over 400 acres this year. One 130-acre property was a part of the estate of the late William Gressard, a nature columnist for the Record-Courier newspaper.
Geauga Parks saw attendance jump in 2017 with some help from opening the Nassau Astronomical Station in Observatory Park, a dark sky park located in Montville Township. It didn’t hurt to open it in an eclipse year.
Funding for some of these park aquisitions came from the Ohio EPA's Water Resource Restoration Sponsorship Program, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, and non-profits like the Land Conservancy.