Sunnybrook Preserve is a 73-acre preserve in eastern Chester
Township. Through most of the twentieth century, the property was maintained for horticultural purposes. It is Geauga Park District's intent to protect this natural area in
In 1928 Dr. Harold and Edith Ruh purchased 170 acres in Chesterland to establish Sunnybrook Farms Nursery as a commercial venture, but also to provide their children with “a chance at productive living outdoors.” The business stayed in the family for decades to come, with responsibilities passing to son Peter Ruh and his wife Jean, then to their son Tim and daughter Janet.
In 2001, Peter and Jean Ruh set up a conservation easement on their property with Chagrin River Land Conservancy (now known as Western Reserve Land Conservancy) to protect their family lands for generations to come. The Conservancy purchased the land, then according to the Ruh’s wishes, sold 72 acres to Geauga Park District to be used as a public park.
Sunnybrook Lodge is available by reservation or on a first-come, first-served basis. Please review the lodge guidelines here. There is no running water inside the lodge.
Because of its close proximity to residential housing, the use of musical devices such as CD players, speakers, DJs and live bands is strictly prohibited.
Click here to reserve a shelter.
Sunnybrook Preserve is complete with 1.7 miles of
trails that provide a variety of experiences. Download the trail map here.
Pine Ridge Trail, located just off the parking
and shelter area, provides a fully accessible route
through forest and alongside nearby wetlands.
Woodland Trail takes hikers through a variety
of forest habitats, including a woodland vernal
pool, which loops back to the parking area.
For those wanting a longer loop through the
woods, the Jumping Mouse Trail will add an extra
½-mile to the experience.
Sunnybrook Preserve has many unique habitat features. The northeastern corner of the property is dominated by unique wetlands, including a fen, which is fed by alkaline, mineral-rich groundwater and characterized by distinctive flora. This fen is home to several “listed” species, including the American Cranberry Bush, which is an “endangered” species in Ohio. Any proposed trails will avoid this section of the property.
The preserve also features a sedge grass meadow and a conifer forest that provide a home for a very diverse list of wildlife. A ravine and cool spring run north to south through the eastern portion of the property. The rolling terrain of Sunnybrook Preserve was created by glacial deposits.
The conifer forest of Sunnybrook Preserve attracts several birds of interest including Dark Eyed Juncos, Black Throated Warblers and Wood Thrush. The woodland sections of the property are also home to the Woodland Jumping Mouse (a species of concern), Short-tailed Shrew, Hoary Bat, and Mink. The cool waters of the spring host a population of Redside Dace and Southern Redbelly Dace.
The 2007 BioBlitz was held at Sunnybrook Preserve. A Bioblitz is an attempted inventory of all living organisms in a given area during a given amount of time (usually 24 hours). To see the full list of living organisms found at Sunnybrook Preserve, click here.
Click below for a map, courtesy of Mapquest®.
From Cleveland and points east: Exit I-90 E at Exit 188 onto I-271 S. Take Exit 34 onto Mayfield Road/US-322 E. Turn right onto Mayfield Road/US-322 E. Turn left onto Heath Road and continue 0.7 miles. Park is on the left.
From Erie and points north: Exit I-90 W at Exit 200 onto OH-44. Turn left onto OH-44 S. Turn right onto Girdled Road/CR-202. Turn left onto Auburn Road/CR-409 and follow Auburn Road. Turn right onto Wilson Mills Road/CR-8. Turn left onto Heath Road and continue 1 mile. Park is on the right.
From Warren and points west: Take I-422 W. Stay straight to go onto Main Market Road/US-422 and follow Main Market Road. Turn right onto Madison Road/Main Street/OH-528/OH-88. Turn left onto High Street/OH-168 and follow OH-168 N, which becomes East Park Street/OH-87 E. Turn right onto North Cheshire Street, which becomes Claridon Troy Road/CR-3. Turn left slight onto Taylor Wells Road/CR-28. Turn left onto Mayfield Road/US-322. Turn right onto Heath Road and continue 0.7 miles. Park is on the left.