Request for Qualifications
Geauga Park District is requesting general statements of qualifications for professional design services for the 2015 & 2016 time period. Design services include but are not limited to land surveying, landscape architecture, engineering, architecture, geo-technical, archaeological and environmental restoration. Click here for details.
Fall Web Updates
With changing leaves come changes on this website! Added already is your fall geocache, Voices of Nature newsletter, Chit Chat volunteer newsletter and printable three-month calendar. To cap it off, stay tuned for the naturalist video!
Request for Proposals: Newsletter, Special Mailings
Geauga Park District is now requesting proposals for the printing and mailing of four Voices of Nature newsletters and a series of special mailings throughout 2015. Detail documents are here for printing and here for mailing. All proposals must be received by 10 a.m. Monday, November 17, 2014.
Public Internet Access
2015 Registration Schedule
Please note that registration for 2015 reservations will open on the following schedule: December 15 for Geauga County residents, January 1 for all others.
Please note that if you're headed out to The West Woods Nature Center or Big Creek Park, building hours are now the same for both: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Controlled Trapping Lottery
The application is now available for Geauga Park District's upcoming controlled trapping lottery. Applications may be emailed or postmarked no later than October 10. Links are here for a PDF or here for a Word doc.
Roadwork Near Big Creek Park
Please note that Ravenna Road between Woodin Road and Hosford Road in Chardon will be closed on or about September 24 for approximately two weeks for repairs.
What's New with the Something's Afoot Exhibit?
We know dinosaur bones have been found all over the country, but did you know that some were found right here in Geauga? Have you ever wanted to see them? It's almost time for your chance! Get the scoop on an upcoming update to our Something's Afoot exhibit on our Special Events page!
Proposed Bylaws Revision
Click here for the proposed revision to the bylaws as presented by the Board of Park Commissioners at Tuesday's meeting.
Play Ball! and Other Fun Activities in Your Parks
New baseball backstops are now installed, along with other activity opportunities, just in time for the holiday weekend. Enjoy! (And don't forget to share.)
Bass Lake Preserve — fishing pier, sand volleyball, horseshoe pits, bocce ball court, tetherball, activity field backstop (just added)
Beartown Lakes Reservation — horseshoe pits, bocce ball court, tetherball
Big Creek Park — soccer goal, tetherball, activity field backstop, sand volleyball
Chickagami Park — soccer goal, horseshoe pits, tetherball, activity field backstop
Frohring Meadows — soccer goal, tetherball
Orchard Hills Park — orchard-themed playground
Swine Creek Reservation — soccer goal, horseshoe pits, tetherball, activity field backstop (just added)
Sunnybrook Preserve — horseshoe pits, bocce ball court, tetherball
Changes: Nature Store, Big Creek Park's Meyer Center, Observatory Park
Please be aware of the following changes:
Tree Tops Nature Store is now located exclusively at The West Woods Nature Center, where daily business hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Observatory Park's open house hours are now:
Additionally, In the interest of exercising wise financial stewardship, paired with significantly reduced visitation, the Donald W. Meyer Center in Big Creek Park no longer hosts public visitation on weekends or government holidays. Functioning as Geauga Park District's primary administrative center, the Meyer Center will continue to host public visitation during the regular business hours of Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Picnic Spot Recommendations
Thanks to The News-Herald for prompting us to create this off-the-tops-of-our-heads list of unique picnic spots in Geauga Park District!
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, which just recently became reservable. The view over the pond is beautiful. And it now 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.
Burton-Middlefield Rotary Makes Substantial Contribution to Nature Scopes
In support of Geauga Park District's Nature Scopes binocular program for county fifth-graders, Burton-Middlefield Rotary Club presented a check for $3,000 at its May 7 meeting, making it the largest civic group donor to the program.
"Burton-Middlefield Rotary believes that Geauga Park District's Nature Scopes program should be available to every fifth-grader in Geauga County," said club treasurer Tracy Jemison. "It is a great educational program that stimulates the students' interest in science. We applaud the Park District for offering this program to the fifth-graders throughout Geauga County."
Nature Scopes is a comprehensive, year-long program aligned with Ohio Science Education Content Standards. It reached 90 percent of county fifth-graders this year, with a goal of reaching 100 percent by the 2015-16 school year.
"But we can only do this with the continued support from individuals and civic organizations like the Burton-Middlefield Rotary," said Teresa Runion, Park District development associate, pictured above with Burton-Middlefield Rotary President Rich Newsome. "The club has contributed to this program for three years, and Geauga Park District is very appreciative of its partnership and support."
Research shows that we spend 90 percent of our time indoors, but there is evidence that nature is critical for a child's healthy development - not just physically, but emotionally and intellectually.
Nature Scopes teaches kids to get outside and get plugged into Nature with binoculars, not plugged into a video game or TV. Since the program's inception in 2003, it has reached 4,300 Geauga kids - and all funds are underwritten by private donations that purchase binoculars and field guides given to the students through this program.
What's New with The Maple Highlands Trail?
Q: Are there any new sections of The Maple Highlands Trail open this spring?
A: The Maple Highlands Trail-South is now open from Durkee Road to State Route 528 southeast of Middlefield, then from Bridge Road to Swine Creek Reservation. Two closed portions are still under construction: those from Durkee Road north to State Route 608 (Headwaters Park entrance) and from State Route 528 southeast of Middlefield to Bridge Road. We will be excited to keep you updated on all the progress this summer, so please visit this site regularly for updates.
Swine Creek Playground Closed for Repairs
Swine Creek Reservation's Woods Edge playground has been closed for repairs until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience.
White-nose Syndrome Found at The West Woods
Social Media and Our Voices of Nature eNewsletter
It's never been easier to find out what's going on at your Geauga Park District! Click here to receive our new Voices of Nature eNewsletter, featuring pictures, articles and upcoming programs; "Like" us on Facebook or "Follow" us on Twitter for daily updates and special insights from our experienced naturalist team; or check out our YouTube page, featuring 156 clips of park fun "in the field"!
The mission of Geauga Park District is to preserve, conserve and protect the natural features of Geauga County and to provide outdoor recreational experiences to our