What's New home


Click any of these to go directly to an update.
8/23/16 - Parks Appreciation Day
8/22/16 - K-9 Fund for Rotar & Sniper
8/22/16 - 2016 Nature Arts Festival: It Happened!
8/19/16 - The Wall That Heals
7/13/16 - Free Kayak Borrowing at Headwaters Park
6/27/16 - Summer Web Updates
6/14/16 - Youth Fishing Derby
6/14/16 - 2016 Caveman Crawl 5K: It Happened!
6/9/16 - Play Ball! and Other Fun Activities in Your Parks
6/6/16 - Park Poster Contest
6/6/16 - Nature Writing Contest Winners
5/17/16 - Geauga Monarchs Found in Mexico
4/20/16 - 2016 Controlled Burns: They Happened!
4/20/16 - Picnic Spot Recommendations
1/19/16 - Upcoming Park Closures
9/30/14 - Public Internet Access
2/16/12 - White-nose Syndrome Found at The West Woods






Update: August 23, 2016

Parks Appreciation Day

Details have been just released for Park Appreciation Day. We hope to see you there!

Back to top of page



Update: August 22, 2016

K-9 Fund for Sniper & Rotar

Geauga Park District is excited to announce a new opportunity to improve our community, and the Board of Park Commissioners has allowed us to request your help in maintaining our new K-9 unit.

With the addition of two trained K-9s to our Ranger Department, Sniper and
Rotar, we can continue to make Geauga parks and the surrounding area a
safer place to live and enjoy the outdoors. Our K-9s will be able to locate drugs/narcotics in vehicles, track lost persons and attend informational programs that help build community relations.

It is with the above in mind that we ask for your support to enable us to maintain this great community asset. We are seeking partners to help underwrite necessary items for both dogs including equipment (leash, collars, bowls, toys, treats), food, veterinary care, vehicle inserts designed for transport of police working dogs, and educational training and seminars.

If you are able to support our program in any way, donations may be made by check or cash; make checks out to Geauga Park District K-9 Fund to ensure your donation is placed in the proper account. Donations are tax deductible, so please also provide your name, address and phone number so we can ensure
you receive a proper receipt for your contribution.

If you have any questions at all, about donations or the development of our K-9 unit, please contact the Ranger Department at (440) 279-0824. We are also accessible at Ranger Weisbarth dweisbarth@geaugaparkdistrict.org or Ranger Hunziker echunziker@geaugaparkdistrict.org.

Thank you in advance for your partnership. We cannot do this without your support!

- Ranger Denise Weisbarth and Ranger Ed Hunziker

Back to top of page



Update: August 22, 2016

2016 Nature Arts Festival: It Happened!

The 25th annual Nature Arts Festival "came home" to Big Creek Park after being held at The West Woods for 13 years, having previously been at Big Creek Park the first 11 years, and it was a tremendous homecoming!

Sunday, August 7, also hosted the Chardon Arts Festival, and three Lolly the Trolleys ran at maximum capacity between both festivals. Our Nature Arts Festival featured more than 60 vendors of Nature-inspired art and products, approximately 2,000 visitors, and numerous entertainers, family activities and food vendors. To top off an already fantastic day, Mother Nature smiled on the event by giving us perfect weather.

Please come back soon for a link to photos of this very special day in the park!

Back to top of page



Update: August 19, 2016

The Wall That Heals

The Wall That Heals was created by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) to travel to communities across the United States - and it is coming to Geauga County Fairgrounds this September 8-11. Click here for details and a daily schedule.

Back to top of page



Update: July 13, 2016

Free Kayak Borrowing at Headwaters Park

Float on the open water. Propel yourself forward by your own strength. The fresh air and the peace and power of Nature will ensure that your time on the water will be the best part of your day.

Now with Headwaters Park’s newly constructed Boathouse comes a new initiative – allowing you to borrow a kayak free of charge to guide your own Nature adventure on East Branch Reservoir amidst wildlife including resident Bald Eagles!

Our brand new fleet of eight adult and two youth kayaks will be available for first-come, first-served, two-hour reservations during the following times all summer long: Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning at 2 p.m. and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 10 a.m. till 8 p.m., with each day’s last rental at 6:30 p.m. Please note: Hours may vary depending on seasonal staff availability. Before you come out to borrow a kayak, please call the Headwaters hotline, 440-279-0850, to confirm someone will be at the Boathouse to help you.

Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. A driver’s license will be held as a security deposit. Provided life vests must be worn at all times.

Did you know...? The majority of the beautiful new Boathouse facility is also reservable for your special summertime event free of charge for Geauga residents! Learn more at www.geaugaparkdistrict.org under Make a Reservation or by calling 440-286-9516.

Back to top of page



Update: June 27, 2016

Summer Web Updates

Summer is here! And so are these seasonal web updates.

Summer Geocache

Summer Voices of Nature Newsletter

Summer Printable Three-Month Calendar

Back to top of page



Update: June 14, 2016

Youth Fishing Derby

Love a good challenge – and a good excuse to hang the Gone Fishin’ sign? Geauga Park District welcomes kids 17 and younger to try your pole at catching 50 numbered fish as part of our 2016 Youth Fishing Derby!

Tagged Largemouth Bass were divided evenly between Big Creek Park’s Wild Goose Pond and Swine Creek Reservation’s lodge pond the morning of Tuesday, June 7.

To collect your winnings, simply snap a picture of your numbered tag, and a picture of yourself with your fish, then email them to marketing@geaugaparkdistrict.org.

Winners will receive a prize, and five big winners will also receive $50 gift cards!

Note: Each tagged fish can only be a winner once, and only one prize will be given per angler. Fish already claimed as winners will be listed here: #29, #44.

Back to top of page



Update: June 14, 2016

2016 Caveman Crawl 5K: It Happened!

What a day! Featuring the most ideal kind of running weather, his year's event drew 346 registered runners and walkers (up from 309 in 2015) to The West Woods, including 10 people who enjoyed the new 1-Mile Fun Walk. Thank you to everyone who made it another resounding success for the Chip Henry Institute for Outdoor Adventure!

Race ResultsPhotos from 2016
(Go ahead, tag yourself and your friends!)

One more special thanks to this year's event sponsors:

Back to top of page





Update: June 9, 2016

Play Ball! and Other Fun Activities in Your Parks

Did you know about all of these amenities added in recent years to your parks? Come out and play!

Beartown Lakes Reservation — horseshoe pits, bocce ball court, tetherball

Big Creek Park — activity field backstop, sand volleyball, tetherball

Chickagami Park — activity field backstop, soccer goal, horseshoe pits, tetherball

Frohring Meadows — tetherball

Orchard Hills Park — orchard-themed playground

Swine Creek Reservation — activity field backstop, soccer goal, sand volleyball, horseshoe pits, tetherball

Sunnybrook Preserve — bocce ball court, horseshoe pits, tetherball

Back to top of page





Update: June 6, 2016

Park Poster Contest

Have you seen our new poster yet? It's just a snapshot of all you can do in your Geauga parks!

Speaking of snapshots, snap a photo with the poster and you could win a $20 gift certificate to The West Woods Nature Center's Tree Tops Nature Store! (That's a quart of syrup, a nature guide, a T-shirt, a few plush animals, science discovery toys, camping gear and much more...for just the cost of taking a picture!)

Where Are the Posters?
You can either 1) take a picture with a poster already on the wall at a local business or park or 2) pick up your free copy of the poster at the desk of one of these participating locations:
Big Creek Park's Donald W. Meyer Center
Burton Public Library
Destination Geauga
Geauga Public Library branches
Great Lakes Outdoor Supply (Bainbridge, Middlefield and Chesterland)
The West Woods Nature Center

Feel free to get creative with your photo (location, pose, props, composition), or just stand next to the poster on the wall and show us how much you love the parks with a smile. Then to enter, just share your picture 1) via email at marketing@geaugaparkdistrict.org, 2) on our Facebook wall or 3) on Twitter or Instagram using #geaugaparkdistrict. It's that easy.

We'll draw one winner a week *** UPDATED! *** through 2016 – one win per person. Oh, and if you see your photo show up in our newsletter or social media, don't be surprised!

Have fun and get snappin'!

Back to top of page



Update: June 6, 2016

Nature Writing Contest Winners

Click here for the winners of this year's Nature Writing Contest and links to all of their fantastic winning works!

Back to top of page




Update: May 17, 2016

Geauga Monarchs Found in Mexico

The reports of tagged Monarch Butterflies recovered at the overwintering sites in Mexico are in, and what a year it has been for Geauga Park District: a record number of 16 Monarchs tagged here in Geauga County were recovered in the mountains of Mexico this past winter!

During the 2015 season, a whopping total 1,120 Monarchs were tagged by Geauga Park District. Of those, 871 were from eggs collected and reared by Naturalist Tami Gingrich with help from staff members Jen Weitzel and Stacey Rauch. The remaining 249 were
wild migrating butterflies caught and tagged during public programs and by various park staff.

Of the 16 recovered in Mexico:

  • 4 reared Monarchs were tagged and released at The Great Geauga County Fair by Chief Naturalist John Kolar (2), Naturalist Dan Best (1) and Naturalist Karie Wheaton (1)
  • 1 reared Monarch was tagged and released by Stacey Rauch in Burton
  • 8 reared and 2 wild Monarchs were tagged by Naturalist Tami Gingrich and released from Big Creek Park, Swine Creek Reservation, Burton Wetlands Nature Preserve and Frohring Meadows
  • 1 Monarch was tagged and released from The West Woods by an unknown tagger

“Through the years, Geauga Park District has had quite a few Monarchs recovered in Mexico, but never this many in one season!” wrote naturalist Tami Gingrich and Linda Gilbert in review. “It’s amazing that each butterfly had to fly more than 1,800 miles to reach its destination.”

The Monarch Butterfly population has been on a dangerous downward trend since 1996. According to Chip Taylor of the University of Kansas’ MonarchWatch.org on February 26, nine overwintering Monarch colonies were located this winter season with a total area of 9.9 acres, up from 2.8 acres last winter. However, despite this encouraging news of an increase in the overwintering population, a freak winter storm on March 8 and 9 in Mexico wiped out up to 50 percent of the population.

“Luckily many butterflies had already departed on their northward journey to re-colonize the southern U.S.,” wrote Tami and Linda. “The size of the re-colonizing Monarch population in the south will most likely determine the degree to which they recover and overwinter next year. Here’s wishing them fair winds, weather and milkweed that they may be fruitful and multiply!”

Geauga Park District’s fourth and final public milkweed giveaway of the year will take place Sunday, June 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The West Woods Nature Center. Come to collect your free pot and experience the free, family-friendly Home Sweet Habitat: A Place for Wildlife to Survive and Thrive exhibit, open daily until 4:30 p.m.

Back to top of page




Update: April 20, 2016

2016 Controlled Burns: They Happened!

When it comes to managing wildlife and natural areas, interagency cooperative efforts are often the key to achieving our goals on important larger-scale projects. Over the past few weeks, Geauga Park District's Natural Resource Management (NRM) staff have been assisted by Portage Park District (special thanks to Bob Lange, our burn boss leader), Hiram College and Western Reserve Land Conservancy. In addition, other departments within Geauga Park District – Operations, Naturalists, Planning and Adminstration – were all crucial to the success of these projects.

Last Friday, this crew burned 27 acres of meadow habitat at Frohring Meadows. (An additional 8.9 acres of meadow habitat at Burton Wetlands Nature Preserve was burned a few weeks earlier.) This work will undoubtedly produce excellent results – improved habitat – for our meadow-dependent wildlife over the next few years.

PhotosVideo (credit: Land Steward Jen Weitzel)

Friday was also the first time we created a call list – a "hotline," if you will – for members of the public to be notified when a burn would take place so they could come see it. The program's first half was a slideshow talk about why NRM staff use fire as a management tool, stressing the historical, ecological and environmental importance of fire regimes in Ohio and elsewhere. Then attendees were all able to watch the actual controlled burn. Also in attendance, and multiplying our educational outreach tenfold, were WKYC Channel 3, The Plain Dealer, The News-Herald, the Geauga County Maple Leaf and the Chagrin Valley Times. Thanks to everyone who came out to learn from the burn!

Back to top of page



Update: April 20, 2016

Picnic Spot Recommendations

Thinking of packing a basket?

Headwaters Park is a great for an impromptu picnic by the water followed by a hike, or vice versa. This park has great access to water, fishing, camping and The Maple Highlands Trail (for those who want to bike to their picnic). Think lots of places to get away from people and enjoy a feeling of wilderness isolation with your meal.

Bessie Benner Metzenbaum Park would be great for a small family picnic. There's a playground, small parking lot perfect for bikes and small kid toys, and a mile-long hike. Plus, very little outside traffic appears.

Beartown Lakes Reservation has a few great reservable picnic shelters, but it's worth mentioning a more intimate, single-hexagon-tabled shelter just behind the main shelter that cannot be reserved. It's first come, first served, but totally worth running the risk of picnicking on the open grass if it's occupied. It includes the use of a double grill and trash can. The reservable Minnow Pond Shelter is also small, and nestled in the woods.

For those who want to come to Chardon, the Maple Grove Shelter area of Big Creek Park is very popular. A large shelter can be reserved near a small children's play area; a picnic table is tucked amidst tall pines just beyond; and just beyond that is an enclosed table with a great overlook over a ledge into the woods. Also nearby is a big field for activity and Wild Goose Pond, where people just love to sit and fish. Another, more private shelter at Big Creek is just past Deep Woods Shelter, which is also a great reservable shelter. On the park map you can follow the dashed line from the Deep Woods parking lot area to the end of the spur...see that little tiny square at the end?

If you're looking for a shelter with a fireplace, electricity, two tables and a nearby restroom, you may now consider Orchard Hills Park's Pondside Shelter. The view over the pond is beautiful. And it features two octagonal and two standard 8-foot picnic tables. Please be mindful, however, of the fact that this scenic shelter has no drive-up access.

The Rookery has a picnic area near the large white silo there. The four tables are uncovered, so they can be directly in the sun, but there are two grills, a large grassy area for playing games, and restrooms not far at all.

Finally, Whitlam Woods is one of those not-well-traveled parks that many would consider a hidden gem for its hiking and bird watching. There's no picnic area per say, but several benches along the trails would make awesome spots for a brown bag picnic, including a particularly beautiful overlook.


Back to top of page


Update: January 19, 2016

Upcoming Park Closures

There are no currently scheduled park closures. Unscheduled closures are always posted on WKYC and WEWS in Cleveland, as well as to our Facebook and Twitter.

Back to top of page




Update: September 30, 2014

Public Internet Access

Public internet access is now available at Observatory Park, The West Woods Nature Center and Big Creek Park's Meyer Center with the SSID (name) gpPUBLIC and the password GCpublic.

Back to top of page




Update: February 16, 2012

White-nose Syndrome Found at The West Woods

Click here for today's unfortunate news, that bats hibernating at The West Woods are affected by white-nose syndrome (WNS). For a federally kept map of all the sites WNS has been found, click here.

Back to top of page


Back to top of page