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Cleveland Metroparks - The Emerald Necklace

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The Cleveland Metroparks, also known as Cleveland's "Emerald Necklace," has long been one of the region's most valuable and accessible attractions.  Seeing as I couldn't find another thread on here that focused solely on this subject, I figured I'd start one myself!

 

Founded in 1917 as the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District, the park system was an early attempt to conserve open space in the region as urban development grew rapidly into the hinterland.  Today, many of these "reservations" have seen urban and suburban growth expand around and beyond them, illustrating the invaluable foresight of the Metroparks' founders in seeing the need for preserving a large amount of land as public open space. 

 

Today's Metroparks contain over 20,000 acres of recreation and wildlife area and 100 miles of parkways.  Over 42 million visitors enjoy a variety of active and passive options at the system's 16 reservations and facilities each year. 

 

The newest additions to the system are the 59-acre Washington Reservation, which was added in late 2003, and the 325-acre West Creek Reservation, which officially joined the Metroparks this month!

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Now that that's out of the way, I can say that my inspiration for this thread is found in the experience I've had over the past two weeks of winter running in the Garfield and West Creek Reservations. 

 

As part of this little running group I'm in, we're picking a new 'hood each week to explore on foot.  Last week, we did a bit of the South Broadway section of Slavic Village, which included a visit to the Mill Creek Falls and a run along the fairly new path that follows the Mill Creek into the Garfield Reservation.  This also takes you behind the new Mill Creek housing development that was built by Zaremba homes over the past several years.  A beautiful run, indeed, with the falls beind the clear highlight (for me) and a destination that every Clevelander should visit sometime soon!

 

The West Creek Reservation, having only recently changed hands, is still under renovations.  Modifications will be made through 2008, but even in the dead of winter and prior to many of these improvements being made, this park was beautiful!  Of course, we only covered a few dozen of the park's 300+ acres, but it was a good appetizer that will definitely be bringing me back for more!

 

Some of the features of this new reservation are trails, scenic overlooks, a 40-acre meadow, a Stewardship Center (for community activities and education), and views that stretch all the way to Cleveland and Lake Erie!

 

On a side note, to all of you hibernating winter hum-buggers (I'm usually one of them!), getting out to the Metroparks in the winter is so refreshing!  Check your nearest park for activities or visit www.clemetparks.com to check 'em all out.  Just a sampling: toboggan chutes, ice skating, ice fishing, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing.  Nice!

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I'll put in a plug for the Brecksville Reservation, often called the "jewel" of the Emerald Necklace. Brecksville is where I grew up, and the Metropark there was definitely the best thing about the town. Dense forest, hills, creeks galore, miles of trails... It also borders the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, creating quite an expanse of green space.

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Hinckley may not be "the" jewel; but it is definitely "a" jewel in the park district.  Very scenic!  The catholic high school I graduated from in Norwalk always uses the Hinckley Reserve for it's freshman religion class retreat (great place for rock climbing....building trust and bonding with your fellow students, in my opinion).

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Does anyone know of a place to rent cross country skis (with web site, name or phone #, as people have given me vague advice ie "somewhere in Chesterland "...I need details!) Whatever is a reasonable distance from downtown Cleveland would be great.  thanks!

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My favorite is the Rocky River reservation. It's about six or seven miles long, in a valley with long, high bridges (several are very nice multiple-arched spans -- Brookpark, Lorain and Hilliard roads) and surrounded by developed areas that can't be seen very easily.

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no problem...I'm anxious to hear people recommendations, as I'm just now starting to explore these!  I know I spent time in a few as a kid, but it's been so long, I really can't remember which ones or what I was doing there!

 

As for the cc skis, check out the website (www.clemetparks.com) or call 216-635-3200 for info.

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The Bedford Reservation is really interesting, because it contains the remnants of the old industrial village of Bedford that popped up in the canal and early rail-era.  It is also near Bedford's later rail era downtown, which is kind of nice.  They just redid the streetscape along Broadway.

 

The Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation also has some interesting historic artifacts, and it is kind of cool walking through a park surrounded be all sorts of industry and a working raised rail tressel.  It always make me think of "Stand by Me" whenever I see a train come roaring past 100 ft up in the air.

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... ugh I vaguely remember "that place in chesterland"... to rents skis for cross country, they also had an old ski slope that is used for sleding. This was 10 years ago, so my memory is fuzzy, but I want to say it wasn't actualy in chesterland but in burton, at Punderson State park. Its located somewhat close to intersection of 44 & 87. As for "that place in chesterland" it was on the news about a month back for a roof colapse its located on 322, somewhere east of 306 but west of 44, somewhere beyond sperry road. Its on the north side of the road, can't really miss it  becuase the lodge is right up near the road

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My favorite reservation is the north chagrin reservation becuase it has squires castle. It has some nice history going for it, and there is areas you can go sleading

 

Favorite non-metro is the lake metro parks Greenway Corridor Bikeway. Its  4.4 mile paved trail with over a 200ft eleveation change. Its an example of rails to trails for rails that would never be actualy useful for transit. It as the potential to extend even further into geauga county, being that the rail extending though geauga is allready gone. I would like to see it extend it all the way to the lake, but it currently just abruptly ends in a residential area then goes onto active rail lines and yards. WIth some creative planning and routeing I think it could be done to connect with fairport harbor park (another lake metro park) http://www.lakemetroparks.com/HTML/NatureParks/Bike%20Trail/Greenway%20Corridor%20Bike%20Trail.htm

 

On another note, please bear with me becuase my memory is VERY fuzzy this was maybe 10 years ago on a "special" field trip, But there is some (metropark reservation (most likely) or cuyahoga national or some other county park)that they keep gated off from people ever going in to. You can only get into there with an actual tour guide from the parks. The entrance is real narrow (think wide as a car) and inbetween houses. I know the location for the park contains an old hotel that burned down way back in like the 20's or so.

 

*Edit duh look at map, rising valley park

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Yep, I know that trail and rail line well. In 1982, I climbed on the locomotive of the special B&O train that was pulling up the ties, rails and track hardware behind it. The train's crews had finished their work for the day and parked the train near Middlefield's "downtown" area. My mother was heading over to Middlefield for some errand (we lived in Geauga County back then). I'd heard the line was being abandoned and since I was a year from being able to get my own driver's license, I wanted to ride along with her to see if the B&O tracks were still there. Little did I know I was going to be "on board" the last train that line would ever see.

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mgd or anybody do you think they will ever "connect" the necklace east between north and south chagrin reservations?

 

ps-- i like rocky river best too, very impressive place tucked down away from the hubbub.

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I have many happy chidhood memories from the park across the street fom my cousin's house on Big Creek Pkwy. in Parma Hts. Dead Man's Cave supposedly has noxious fumes that would kill you if you went in too deep(!), and the big vines were wonderfully placed to swing from bluff to bluff... 8-)

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I grew up in Hinckley, so that's probably my favorite park, for sentimental reasons.  It does have a very nice walking/running path around the lake and probably the best sledding hill in NEOH. 

 

I now live in Lakewood, and I have to say I agree with KJP that the Rocky River reservation is the best.  It is just so cool being down there by the river and looking up and seeing the bridges and the houses perched in the cliffs. 

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Tinker's Gorge is the best.  I was amazed when I saw it for the first time this past fall. 

 

I also agree about the Rocky River reservation. Very nice.

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in regards to the distance between the metroparks and the CVNP, I have bicycled several times from the Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation (well worth a visit!!), along the towpath, and into the CVNP.  I think its about 4 -5 miles to the edge of the CVNP, though the Brecksville reservation is likely the closest.

 

distances can be checked pretty reliably with this >> http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/

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MorningTheft - I grew up in Hinckley too...graduated from Highland in 1990...we know each other, perhaps?  Could be scary, because I was a snobby dork...

 

I graduated from Highland in '98, so we probably don't know eachother.  But my sister graduated in '90 so you might know her (and her husband).

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Brooklyn Sun Journal:

 

Paving the way Proposed trail to connect reservations

Thursday, August 23, 2007

By Joe Noga

Brooklyn Sun Journal

 

BROOKLYN Officials here said they have spearheaded a successful $60,000 federal grant application to help pay for a feasibility study that will look at expanding the Big Creek greenway trail through a three-mile stretch of the city.

 

The proposed study will develop preferred alignments for an all-purpose trail connecting Big Creek reservation in Parma on Brookpark Road with the Memphis Avenue picnic area, and continuing up to the Brookside reservation in Cleveland near the Metroparks Zoo.

 

The grant was made available through the federal Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative. Officials were informed Aug. 10 that the project will receive funding. A formal announcement is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency office downtown.

 

Brooklyn's initial investment is a $4,500 portion of the $15,000 total matching requirement. The Cleveland Metroparks committed $6,000 to the survey while Cleveland and Parma contributed $2,000 apiece and Friends of Big Creek added $500.

 

Mayor Ken Patton said the proposal will contain potential paths through the surrounding neighborhoods and establish greenspace for the future, while ensuring residents have access to a park-type setting.

 

He said there is also potential for development in Brooklyn's city center that would allow connecting paths to the parks behind the city's recreation center.

 

"It might work out to be a good thing," he said.

 

Friends of Big Creek chair Bob Gardin said the trail, which could cover about three miles, would allow public access to the southern stretch of the Metroparks, the zoo and the towpath trail for more than 40,000 residents primarily in Brooklyn, Cleveland and Parma.

 

"It's a major link in the system," he said.

 

Gardin said the plan was first envisioned by Metroparks founder William Stinchcomb in 1917, but because of private development within the city of Brooklyn it was never implemented. He said the new proposal could incorporate some commercially developed areas such as Cascade Crossings.

 

Gardin said Friends of Big Creek met with the Cascade Crossings management board almost two years ago and that they were supportive of the idea.

 

Meanwhile, Gardin said the lower Big Creek study, known as the Greenway Restoration Plan, is already under way. That project is being administered by the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation.

 

http://www.cleveland.com/brooklynsunjournal/news/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1187808265286850.xml&coll=4

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Another national award for the Cleve ... by my count, that means that as of the most recent rankings, Cleveland has the best public transit system, the best public libraries and the best regional park system in the country. No wonder it is also rated one of the two most livable cities in the country by The Economist.  :clap:

 

Editorial: Cleveland Metroparks rack up another well-deserved national award

Thursday, October 11, 2007

 

The Cleveland Metroparks can hoist a prestigious award as it celebrates its 90th birthday - the 2007 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence.

 

For the third time in 15 years, the Metroparks has been deemed the nation's best managed park system by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and the National Recreation and Park Association ...

 

... More at http://www.cleveland.com/editorials/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/opinion/1192091836230670.xml&coll=2

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I always thought the Euclid creek reservation was cool....so close to all that Euclid Square Mall mess.  What an oasis among not so pretty surroundings.  Unfortunately I think the parkway is mostly used as a thouroughfare to get from I90 into Richmond Heights.

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Wisconsin man to be new director of Cleveland Metroparks

By James Ewinger

January 28, 2010, 7:00AM

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Metroparks system may be one of the last assets in Northeast Ohio that remains the envy of the nation, and the park commissioners believe they have chosen a new executive director capable of guiding the Emerald Necklace into its second century.

 

 

His name is Brian Zimmerman, chief of operations for Milwaukee County Parks, Recreation and Culture, which makes him the second in command at the 15,000-acre park system that many compare to the Cleveland Metroparks.

 

 

MORE AT http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/01/wisconsin_man_new_director_of.html

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