• Snowshoeing, Bird in the Hand, Skiing, Cleared Trails & More

    We know it can be hard to get out during a Northeast Ohio winter, but we’ve got you covered when it comes to motivation! There’s no shortage of great activities to enjoy in your Geauga Park District. Below, a few good ideas:

    Bird In hand Bird in the Hand Feeding Station
    Head to The West Woods this fall and follow these steps for the magical experience of having wildlife trust you enough to eat from your hand. In optimal conditions, volunteers have reported as many as 60 chickadees in 20 minutes!

    1) Time up your visit for daylight hours and dress warmly – extra layers, hat and gloves – since you will be standing still. If it’s between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., stop into the nature center to collect some black oil sunflower seed; otherwise, use a little from the feeder already placed on site. Hand-feeding works best with just one or two people or a small group, like three or four.
    2) Follow the Trout Lily Trail, then hang a right at the fork after the boardwalk across the wetlands, following the sign. Soon you’ll come upon the feeding station marked by a feeder and a mannequin, “Parker,” who keeps the birds familiar with a human presence. (Parker is pretty realistic; then again, birds are fairly easy to fool.)
    3) Take down the feeder, hide it under the bucket that’s there, extend your hand with some seed in your palm, then wait. Odds are good you’ll have a taker if you’re patient, enjoying the peace and quiet a handful of minutes or so. Then…enjoy!

    Free Snowshoe Borrowing
    Back this year: our popular free snowshoe borrowing program at The West Woods! And did we mention it’s FREE?
    At least a few inches of snow on the ground is needed, and the deeper the snow, the better.
    Registration is preferred at 440-286-9516. Any snowshoes not reserved are available on first-come, first-served basis. Borrowers must be 18+ to check out a pair; anyone younger must be accompanied by an adult, and no one under 40 pounds may use the snowshoes due to their weight.
    Snowshoes may not leave The West Woods except for registered programs. Registrants must sign a waiver form and leave a driver’s license as a security deposit. Borrowing can take place any time 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and last up to two hours.
    For guided snowshoe experiences this winter, visit http://bit.ly/gpdsscall2018 to get your name on our call list for special snowshoe programs that will be “called into action” anytime now through March 1 whenever the snow conditions are right for snowshoeing.

    Sledding
    Sledding hills can be found at Orchard Hills Park and Beartown Lakes Reservation. For after-dark sledding at Orchard Hills, find the pole with the “Lights” sign and switch, and please turn the lights off upon the last person’s departure.

    Cross Country Skiing
    Trails are once again being groomed at Orchard Hills Park and along The Maple Highlands Trail between Mountain Run Station in Chardon and Claridon Troy Road. Visit our Facebook wall or Twitter feed for grooming updates.

    Cleared Trails for Walking
    Park operations crews regularly clear snow from paved trails in six parks: Orchard Hills Park, Sunnybrook Preserve and Bessie Benner Metzenbaum Park in Chesterland; Walter C. Best Wildlife Preserve in Chardon; Frohring Meadows in Bainbridge; and along The Maple Highlands Trail-North from Fifth Avenue in Chardon to the Lake County line.

    Ice Fishing
    Have the equipment? You can fish in the wintertime in the same places you can fish during warm weather! Please note: a boating permit is still required to fish at Bass Lake Preserve.