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Click any of these to go directly to an update
9/10/14 - Proposed Bylaws Revision
9/4/14 - Public Internet Access
8/18/14 - Park Board Meeting Schedule
7/28/14 - Play Ball! and Other Fun Activities in Your Parks
7/7/14 - Big Creek Park's Meyer Center Hours & Nature Store Change
6/26/14 - Change to Open House Hours at Observatory Park
6/9/14 - Summer Web Updates
6/9/14 - 4th Annual Caveman Crawl 5K Trail Run: It Happened!
5/19/14 - Picnic Spot Recommendations
5/13/14 - Burton-Middlefield Rotary Makes Substantial Contribution to Nature Scopes
4/21/14 - What's New with The Maple Highlands Trail?
4/17/14 - Swine Creek Playground Closed for Repairs
4/11/14 - Leash Law & Coyotes at Frohring Meadows
10/11/13 - Something's Afoot: Nature Just Can't Stay Put
6/21/13 - Black Bears in Geauga?!
2/16/12 - White-nose Syndrome Found at The West Woods
1/28/11 - Social Media and Our Voices of Nature eNewsletter

 

Update: September 10, 2014

Proposed Bylaws Revision

Click here for the proposed revision to the bylaws as presented by the Board of Park Commissioners at Tuesday's meeting.

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Update: September 4, 2014

Public Internet Access

Public internet access is available at Observatory Park with the password NIGHTSKY, as well as The West Woods Nature Center and Big Creek Park's Meyer Center with the password GCpublic.

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Update: August 18, 2014

Park Board Meeting Schedule

Did you know...? The Park Board's most up-to-date meeting schedule is always posted at http://bit.ly/gpdboard.

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Update: July 28, 2014

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

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Update: July 7, 2014

Big Creek Park's Meyer Center Hours & Nature Store Change

From now on, Geauga Park District's Tree Tops Nature Store will be located exclusively at The West Woods Nature Center, where daily business hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Additionally, in the interest of exercising wise financial stewardship, paired with significantly reduced visitation, the Donald W. Meyer Center in Big Creek Park will no longer host 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.

Since this building has increasingly operated as an administrative center, it has seen a drastic reduction in weekend visitation, and a cost analysis revealed potential savings in no longer maintaining and staffing it on weekends when programs and events were not occurring.

That being said, the Park District will continue to host the summer amphitheater concert series, and encourages programmers to continue to use the Meyer Center in their planning of public programs and events. Additionally, the Cherry Room and the Frances Hall Amphitheater remain available for reservations by outside groups and requested programs. The future use of this building will be addressed as part of the leadership team's strategic planning process to determine best practices going forward.

Update: June 26, 2014

Change to Open House Hours at Observatory Park

Please note that, beginning in July, Observatory Park's open house hours will be held only the second and fourth Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of each month.

2nd & 4th Fri. and Sat. 6 - 11 PM
2nd & 4th Sun. 1 - 4 PM (planetarium show at 2 PM)

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Update: June 9, 2014

Summer Web Updates

Summertime is upon us, and thus, here are your summer geocache, Voices of Nature newsletter, Chit Chat volunteer newsletter, and printable three-month calendar. Coming soon: the summer naturalist video!

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Update: June 9, 2014

2014 Caveman Crawl 5K Trail Run: It Happened!

Thank you to the record-breaking 417 runners and walkers who made the fourth annual Caveman Crawl 5K Trail Run a success! It raised more than $13,098.03 for the Chip Henry Institute for Outdoor Adventure - a good increase from 2013!

RESULTS & FINISH LINE VIDEO from 2014Photos from 2014
Do you see an issue with the results? Email us so we can try to sort it out!

Photos from 2013Video Memory Book from 2013Video Montage from 2013
Photos from 2012Photos from 2011Course Map

Now mark your calendars for Sunday, June 14, 2015, for the fifth annual event, and watch our Special Events page in 2015 for details!

Special thanks again to the following 2014 sponsors:


UHGMC & Staff

Geauga #2261

John & Chris
Steigerwald

As well as Kinetico Water Systems, Breezewood Gardens and the Geauga Family YMCA

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Update: May 19, 2014

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.

Enjoy!

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Update: May 13, 2014

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.

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Update: April 21, 2014

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.

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Update: April 17, 2014

Swine Creek Playground Closed for Repairs

Swine Creek Reservation's Woods Edge playground has been closed for repairs until further notice. We apologize for any meanwhile inconvenience.

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Update: April 11, 2014

Leash Law & Coyotes at Frohring Meadows

Over the winter and spring, Geauga Park District's Natural Resource Management Department has been monitoring the coyotes at Frohring Meadows in Bainbridge Township, and reports that they continue to be active in the same areas as previous years.

"We know from monitoring wildlife cameras that these animals are in the area," said Paul Pira, Geauga Park District's park biologist. "They may be using this park once again for denning, so we're trying to be proactive by cautioning people to respect wildlife and obey the leash laws."

Leash laws are enforced on all Geauga Park District properties, and dogs are required to be on leash at all times for the benefit of dog owners, other park visitors and the resident wildlife. Even the most highly trained and best-behaved pets can be unpredictable at times, so leashing is required for the best interest of all. Failure to follow this law can result in a fine.

Pira notices the impact unleashed dogs have had on wildlife research. "There are numerous other animals in our wetland study areas that we have also documented as being highly disturbed by dogs off leash at Frohring Meadows park," he said. "They have disturbed our trapping research, killed waterfowl and caused us to cease work on some research projects."

Where coyotes are denning, pets off leash may also provoke coyote pairs by wandering off trail and finding their dens, Pira said. Click here to watch a video of this type of behavior in California. "There shouldn't be any problem as long as they're on leash," he added. "Hopefully we won't have to close the trails."

Frohring Meadows' Big Bluestem Trail was closed for more than two months in 2012 after a woman and her dog had an encounter with the coyote pair.  In 2013, the same trail was marked with signs at the entrance to the woods.

Rangers will also be monitoring the area more closely during this time to ensure compliance and safety, Ranger Sergeant Larry McKinnon said.

Eastern coyotes are known to inhabit the area of Frohring Meadows. They are normally passive. However, coyotes may act alone or in a small family group to defend their territory. This behavior is normal but may be more intense from January through June due to mating, denning and pup weaning.

The presence of dogs may trigger coyotes to display forms of aggression consisting of yips, howls and growls. Coyotes may follow behind dog-walkers for a short distance. If you encounter a coyote, calmly control your pet and leave the area the way you entered. If you are walking a dog, shorten the leash; keep the dog close and as quiet as possible. Pick up and carry small dogs.

If a coyote does approach, walk backwards slowly and try to discourage it by shouting in a deep voice, waving your arms, throwing objects and looking the coyote directly in the eyes. If you are wearing a coat or vest, spread it open like a cape so that you appear larger. Carrying a whistle with you can help frighten a coyote and alert others.

Please report coyote interaction to the Park District’s Ranger and Natural Resource Management departments at 440-286-9516.

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Update: October 11, 2013

Something's Afoot: Nature Just Can't Stay Put

Get the scoop on our new indoor exhibit on our Special Events page!

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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.

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Update: January 28, 2011

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"!

 

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