Wednesday, December 17, 2014

You think this is for the birds? You're right!

115th annual Christmas Bird Count

Celebrated across North America (and Lake Metroparks)  

Gully Brook Park (December 20 at 8:30 am)
Penitentiary Glen Reservation (December 27 at 8 am)

Do you love birds? Join Lake Metroparks and participate in the annual Christmas Bird Count, the longest running Citizen Science project in the world.

The Christmas Bird Count, presented by the National Audubon Society, is an early-winter bird census, where thousands of volunteers across the US, Canada and many countries in the Western Hemisphere count all the bird species and number of birds within a designated 15 mile radius in one 24 hour period.

Lake Metroparks is looking for as many eyes and ears to help us get as accurate a count as possible. All the data is turned in to National Audubon for a full tally from across Lake County, Northeast Ohio, Ohio and all of North America. Teams of birders venture out on foot, while “feeder” watchers keep track in back yards. A number our parks are included in the count territories.

Click here for a map of the circles that take in Lake County.
(Enter Lake County, Ohio into the search bar on the map)

Come join the fun on Saturday December 20 at 8:30 am at Gully Brook Park on River Road in Willoughby, where members of the Burroughs Nature Club will lead a hike and then move on to Pete’s Pond Preserve in Wickliffe for more birding, finishing up around lunchtime. Registration not required. Free

Go on a hike with members from the Blackbrook Audubon Society at Penitentiary Glen Reservation on Saturday December 27 at 8 am until 10 am to discover what the nature center trails and feeders have to offer. You do not have to be an expert “birder” to enjoy this outing, just a lover of birds. Register online for this hike. FREE

For more information the Christmas Bird Count, call 440 256-1404 and ask for Pat or Ann or visit

Learn more about birding in Lake County.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More shelters available to reserve in 2015

Hidden Valley Park - photo by greennite (Flickr)
2015 Picnic Shelter Reservations begin December 1
for Lake County residents. Open reservations begins Monday, December 8.

Lake Metroparks is making three more of its shelters reservable bringing the total to 16 shelters throughout Lake County that may be reserved. These include Chapin Forest (Forest Shelter), Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park Beach Shelter (west) and Lakeshore Reservation - Shadyside (east).

(All shelters provide picnic tables, grills, restrooms and other amenities and are great for family reunions or other special gatherings. Some of the shelters include power, nearby trails, playground equipment and volleyball courts for additional fun. For a complete listing of the shelters and their amenities, visit and click Shelters under Make a Reservation.

Shelter reservations for 2015 begin Monday, December 1 at 8 am for Lake County residents. Open reservations begin Monday, December 8 at 8 am. Reservations may be made online at or by calling the Registration Department at 440-358-7275 or 800-669-9226.

Shelter reservations may be made for the following park locations:

Chagrin River Park (Reeves Road Entrance)
3100 Reeves Rd., Willoughby 44094.
Shelter capacity is 75. Park amenities include playground equipment, sand volleyball court, hiking trails, fishing in the Chagrin River, a recreational field and electricity.

Chagrin River Park (Rural Drive Entrance)
1000 Rural Drive, Eastlake 44095.
The shelter capacity is 75 and has electricity. Park amenities include hiking trails and a recreational field.

Chapin Forest Reservation (Twin Ponds)
10381 Hobart Road, Kirtland 44094.
Shelter capacity is 75 and has electricity. Park amenities include a playground area, recreational field, volleyball, hiking trails, cross-country skiing, ski rental, fishing and a fireplace in the shelter. 

Chapin Forest Reservation (Quarry Shelter)
10090 Chillicothe Road (Rt. 306), Kirtland 44094.
The shelter capacity is 75 and overlooks a small pond. Park amenities include hiking trails and fishing.

Chapin Forest Reservation (Forest Shelter)
10090 Chillicothe Road (Rt. 306), Kirtland 44094.
Shelter capacity is 40. No electricity. Park offers a playground, hiking trails and pond fishing.
This park has limited access in the winter (open May 1 through November 30). 
Reservable for 2015

Concord Woods Nature Park
11211 Spear Rd, Concord Twp. 44077.
Shelter capacity is 75. Park amenities include playground equipment, electricity, hiking trails, fishing and a fireplace in the shelter.

Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park - Beach Shelter (west)
301 Huntington Beach Dr in Fairport Harbor. The shelter capacity is 40.
Park offers electricity, a volleyball court, fire ring, restrooms and a guarded swim area nearby. The eastern side of this shelter is first come/first serve. Open year-round.
Western side r
eservable for 2015

Girdled Road Reservation (South entrance)
12926 Radcliffe Road in Concord Twp. 44077.
The shelter capacity is 250 and overlooks a pond. Park amenities include electricity, playground, hiking trails and fishing.

Gully Brook Park
2100 River Road, Willoughby Hills 44094.
The shelter capacity is 75 and has electricity. Shelter has grills. This park offers a hiking trail, playground and three additional picnic areas with grills.

Helen Hazen Wyman Park
6121 Painesville-Warren Road, Concord Twp. 44077 (alongside Big Creek).
The shelter capacity is 75. Park amenities include water, (May - October), playground equipment, fishing and game field. 

Hidden Valley Park
4880 Klasen Road, Madison Twp. 44057 (alongside the Grand River).
Shelter capacity is 75. Park amenities include electricity, ball field, hiking trails and fishing.

Lakeshore Reservation - Lakeview (west)
4799 Lockwood Road, North Perry Village 44081 (on the shores of Lake Erie). 
Shelter capacity is 75. Park amenities include electricity, sundial, gazebo and paved All Peoples Trail.

Lakeshore Reservation - Shadyside (east)
Located on Lockwood Road in Perry, on the shores of Lake Erie. The shelter capacity is 75.
This park offers electricity, a paved All Peoples Trail and access to the Lake Erie shoreline.
Reservable for 2015

Penitentiary Glen Reservation
8668 Kirtland-Chardon Road, Kirtland 44094.
Shelter capacity is 75. Park amenities include hiking trails, Nature Center with gift shop, Wildlife Center and fishing.

Riverview Park
4895 Bailey Road, Madison Twp. 44057 (alongside the Grand River).
Shelter capacity is 75. Park amenities include electricity and winter sledding.

Veterans Park
5740 Hopkins Road, Mentor 44060.
Shelter capacity is 75. Park amenities include electricity, playground equipment, fishing, hiking trails and a fireplace in the shelter.

Shelter reservations are accepted online at, by phone, mail or in person.
  • A $50 refundable deposit is required of Lake County residents wishing to reserve a picnic shelter.
  • Residents living outside Lake County pay a $50 refundable deposit and a $25 rental fee.
  • Deposits (payable by credit card, check or cash in person/phone and via credit card online) is required at the time of reservation.

Payment can be made online, by phone, in person or by mailing the reservation information to: 

Lake Metroparks Registration Department
11211 Spear Road
Concord Township, Ohio 44077.

In addition to the reservable shelters listed above, Lake Metroparks makes available the following shelters on a first come, first served basis:
  • Chapin Forest Reservation (Ledges Shelter)
  • Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park - Beach Shelter (east)
  • Hell Hollow - Shelter
  • Hogback Ridge - Shelter
  • Painesville Township Park - Shelter
Lake Metroparks offers a naturalist guide service providing a specialized nature program to your family or group visit to Lake Metroparks. Various topics and general discovery hikes available. Fee: $40 (1- to 1.5-hour program) For information call 440-358-7275.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Staying Safe in the Parks this Winter

Photo by Joyce Keough

The onset of cold weather can transform the outdoors into a winter wonderland, full of opportunities for you to enjoy skiing, ice skating, sledding, ice fishing and snowshoeing. While creating lasting winter memories, be sure to take proper safety precautions.

Make a plan. Always make sure that someone knows where you are. Inform a friend or relative if you are going out and when you plan to return.

Check the weather report. Heed precautions and advisories. If weather warnings suggest a severe wind chill or extremely low temperatures, consider avoiding outdoor
activities until the weather improves.

Wear the gear. Avoid frostbite and hypothermia by dressing in loose, comfortable layers, wearing proper footwear and keeping your head, ears and hands covered
(wind and water resistant fabrics provide the best protection). Don’t forget your sunglasses!

Supervise children. Adult supervision is the best protection for children. Be sure to watch for signs of hypothermia or frostbite.

Avoid hazards. Survey the area and identify the potential danger spots; deep snow can camouflage obstacles and water features. Be extremely cautious on ice!

Protect what counts. Always wear your helmet and/or protective goggles when participating in winter activities like snowmobiling, skiing and skating.

Take a break. During any extended outdoor winter activity, be sure to come inside for regular breaks and stay hydrated. Give yourself a chance to warm up every
couple of hours with a cup of hot cocoa or other warm drink.

Alcohol and winter activities don’t mix. Stay sober while participating in any winter activities.

Limit winter travel. If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is stocked with emergency equipment, the gas tank is at least half-full and be prepared to handle the slick road conditions. Keep all of your vehicle’s windows, mirrors and lights clear of ice and snow. Good vision is a key to good driving.

Sled safe.

Don’t sled in parking areas, roadways, rivers or lakes. Always ride sitting and facing forward (going down head first increases the chance of head and spinal injuries). Sledding equipment should be in good repair without sharp edges. Avoid “jumps” that send a rider airborne—the higher they fly, the harder they fall. The building of such “jumps” is a violation of Park Rule 5.1(e) and the offender can be cited. Watch for other sledders and walk up the side when returning to the top of the hill.

Enjoy sledding at four hills throughout Lake Metroparks:

Chagrin River Park | 3100 Reeves Rd., Willoughby
•   Moderate hill located off the Riverwood Trail

Chapin Forest Reservation | 10381 Hobart Rd., Kirtland
•   Small hill used primarily by cross-country skiers to practice control skills

Hidden Valley Park | 4880 Klasen Rd., Madison Twp.
•   Moderate sledding hill located next to parking lot

Riverview Park | 4895 Bailey Rd., Madison Twp.
•   Hill steeper than Hidden Valley hill—located next to parking lot

Watch the ice.

Ice conditions are highly variable and can change quickly due to weather conditions and water currents. Please use extreme caution and ensure ice is thick enough and safe before you venture onto any ice.

Please note the following:

•   Lake Metroparks does not monitor ice conditions.
•   Whenever you are in doubt of the ice condition, stay off the ice.
•   Children should never be on the ice without adult supervision.
•   You should not travel alone on the ice.
•   Beware of thin ice in and around partially  submerged structures, embankments, vegetation and along dams or spillways.
•   Stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas, moving water and darker areas that may signify thin ice.

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Lake Metroparks offers a variety of opportunities for fishing including stocked ponds as well as river, stream and lakeshore access.
Lake Metroparks' aquatic resources bring value to our parks and to Lake County. From the depths of our ponds to the edges of our rivers and streams to the beaches of Lake Erie, Lake County's watery resources afford our citizens unrivaled opportunities to enjoy fishing.