What's New home



Click any of these to go directly to an update.
2/14/18 - Hunter Education Course
12/18/17 - Job Postings
12/4/17 - A Review of 2017 Park Projects
12/4/17 - Snowshoeing, Bird in the Hand, Skiing, Cleared Trails & More: Winter in the Parks!
11/21/17 - Apply to Snowmobile at Observatory Park
11/6/17 - New Family Fun Giveaway: Kayaks, Paddles & Life Vests!
8/22/16 - K-9 Fund for Rotar & Sniper





Update: February 14, 2018

Hunter Education Course

Geauga Park District will be pleased to train young and beginner hunters on safety, archery, ammunition, ethics and conservation during a two-day Hunter Education Course this spring.

Registration opens this Saturday, February 17, at this link through the Ohio Division of Wildlife, for classes on Saturdays, March 17 and 24, both 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Big Creek Park’s Donald W. Meyer Center.

Attendance is necessary both days to complete the coursework, which ends with a quiz. Students age 18 or younger must be accompanied by an adult.

The Park District’s hunter education course offerings will also soon include clinics sponsored by the National Rifle Association. Their focus is the animals and their habitats, the goal being to make attendees more effective hunters.

Geauga Park District Rangers Mike Benesh, Jim Kailburn and Joel Firem earned certificates last summer to teach the clinics using updated training manuals supported by the highly acclaimed NRA Hunter Skills Series books.

“These offerings will provide more in-depth information about White-tailed Deer and Wild Turkey and how they behave, so hunters can know where might be a good spot to put up a tree stand, how to track deer and more,” Ranger Benesh said. “Anybody who’s hunted for a while already knows a lot of this information, so these clinics will be geared more toward kids and beginners.”
A Wild Turkey clinic offering is expected to follow sometime this spring before turkey season begins. Watch program listings on this website or call 440-286-9516 for upcoming clinic information as it becomes available.

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Update: December 18, 2017

Job Postings

Click here for new job postings for a full-time Outdoor Recreation Specialist position and a seasonal part-time Seasonal Camp Naturalist position.

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Update: December 4, 2017

A Review of 2017 Park Projects

As of today, here's where we stand on this year's park development projects:

The Maple Highlands Trail - South
The south portion of The Maple Highlands Trail, from Headwaters Park to Swine Creek Reservation, is very near completion. View photos of this project here; view a map of the route here.

Claridon Woodlands
This project involved the construction of a new park including public shelters and parking lots along with an asphalt trail system at Geauga Park District’s former Hyde Kaplan Property. The majority of the development occurred on the northwest portion of the property, just above the existing pond. A new connection is also made to the existing Maple Highlands Trail on the south side of the property.

Trails at Claridon Woodlands are slated to open January 2, 2018, with other amenities including a bouldering wall, ropes course, pump track and single-track mountain biking trail opening later in the year. View photos of this project here, view a planning illustration of the finished lodge area here, or read an article about the project published in the Geauga County Maple Leaf here.

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Update: December 4, 2017

Snowshoeing, Bird in the Hand, Skiing, Cleared Trails & More: Winter in the Parks!

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 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 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. Please note: After large snowfall events, park entrance drives and lots take priority; thanks for your patience as operations crews make their way to the trails.

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.

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Update: November 21, 2017

Apply to Snowmobile at Observatory Park

As part of its mission to provide outdoor recreational experiences to residents of every age, every ability and at all times of the year, Geauga Park District is excited to again accept applications for snowmobiling permits this winter.

Snowmobiling will be allowed only in Observatory Park, open daily 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. in Montville Township, by permit only and only on trails marked with snowmobiling signage. Click here for a 2017-2018 snowmobiling permit application.

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Update: November 6, 2017

New Family Fun Giveaway:
Kayaks, Paddles & Life Vests!

What would it be like to win up to FOUR FREE KAYAKS, PADDLES AND LIFE VESTS, with the freedom to explore so many awesome Geauga County waters? Geauga Park District’s new Family Fun Giveaway offers a chance to find out!

When you sign up for personalized email updates from the parks at bit.ly/gpdgiveaway2018 now through June 4, 2018, you’ll also be entered to win these prizes, with the paddles and life vests courtesy of co-presenter Great Lakes Outdoor Supply.

“Coming in 2018, our new email lists will allow us to send you updates according to your family’s specific interests, whether you enjoy special events or Nature hikes, have kids in your home, or want to hear more about opportunities for seniors,” said Executive Director John Oros. “Plus, one of you will be the lucky family to win four new kayaks. Best of luck to you and your family!”

Already signed up for our emails? Don’t worry – you can still sign up for the new giveaway using the same form and not receive duplicate emails.

Read official rules for this Family Fun Giveaway here. Paper sign-up forms and official rules will also be available at The West Woods Nature Center, Big Creek Park’s Meyer Center, and Great Lakes Outdoor Supply in Middlefield. Just ask about it at the front desk or cash register.

Co-presenter Great Lakes Outdoor Supply is dedicated to providing products and services for outdoorsmen, hunters and anyone with a taste for the enjoyment of the outdoors, with locations in Middlefield, Chesterland and Bainbridge.

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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


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