Monday, June 30, 2014

Beat the Heat with Wet Feet

Lake Metroparks is fortunate to have a multitude of parks that provide access to our local rivers and Lake Erie.  During the heat of summer some of these locations offer great opportunities to cool off with a hike through the water.  Our local waters are important homes for many plants and animals, so while hiking around keep your eyes open for fish, frogs, crayfish or even a Bald Eagle. 

The following are some of our favorite places for a creek or river hike:

Indian Point Park – From the lower parking lot you can readily enter Paine Creek.  You can hike upstream to the Seeley Road bridge or take a shorter, easier hike downstream where the stream empties into the Grand River.

Helen Hazen Wyman Park – Kellogg Creek, Big Creek and the Grand River all come together at this park.  The best creek hiking though is in Big Creek where the clear shallow waters offer excellent opportunities to explore. 

Hidden Valley Park – The Grand River is the largest and deepest river in the county, but just beyond the shelter is a wide, shallow area perfect for wading.  So grab the family and some hot dogs for a picnic and an afternoon of splashing in the river.

Lake Erie has some great natural beaches to walk along while the waves splash at your feet.  Our favorite locations are:

Lake Erie Bluffs – The longest stretch of natural Lake Erie beach in the park district offers you a chance to walk the .71-miles from one park entrance to the other.  Keep cool by walking along the edge of the surf, while experiencing this amazing natural area.

Lakeshore Reservation – Two sets of stairs border a stretch of natural Lake Erie beach nearly a half mile long.  You can sit in the shade of some of the overhanging trees or wade into the lake to cool off. 

For more information and directions to the parks, visit


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lake Erie Bluffs Park selected to receive National Conservation Award

“This award demonstrates how Lake Erie Bluffs, our newest park, continues to gain recognition as an outstanding example of the conservation of a nationally recognized area, rich in habitat and various wildlife and plant species.” 
Lake Metroparks Executive Director Paul Palagyi 

Lake Metroparks’ newest park, Lake Erie Bluffs in Perry Township, has been selected as a recipient of the 2014 National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials (NACPRO) Award in the Environmental/Conservation category. NACPRO is a national advocate for parks, recreational facilities, and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for communities across the country.

“This award demonstrates how Lake Erie Bluffs, our newest park, continues to gain recognition as an outstanding example of the conservation of a nationally recognized area, rich in habitat and various wildlife and plant species,” Lake Metroparks Executive Director Paul Palagyi said. “Lake Erie Bluffs provides public access to our greatest natural resource, Lake Erie and protects habitat used by more than 15 rare and common plant and animal species, including the Bald eagle but most importantly this park will provide public access to almost two miles of Lake Erie shoreline.”

By Joel Trick of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsOne of the most important aspects of the property is the role it plays in supporting migratory birds as the fly north and south during the spring and fall. The birds depend on places like the meadows and other habit at the Bluffs to rest and feed before continuing their migrations. This offers bird watchers an opportunity to see a wide range of birds that are not otherwise normally found in this area. Earlier this week, a senior biologist with the parks, John Pogacnik, saw a Kirtland’s warbler which is widely considered the rarest warbler in North America. “One of the amazing things about the Bluffs is not just the habitat, but the variety of the habitat on the property. This habitat is just perfect for birds like the Kirtland’s warbler, they absolutely need this kind of cover and food to survive and continue their migrations, especially at this time of year,” said Pogacnik.

“Before we have even finished with building the trails and amenities that we plan to provide at the Bluffs, the park is already being recognized as nationally important by organizations like NACPRO,” said Palagyi. The development of Lake Erie Bluffs was made possible with help from a wide range of committed partners. Working together, this collaborative effort secured more than $10 million in local, state and federal competitive grants and donations to purchase the $11 million property. More than 1.6 miles of undeveloped shoreline and nearly 600 acres of diverse and important natural habitat are now protected by Lake Metroparks thanks to the help of many valuable partners.

Photo of Kirtland's Warbler by Joel Trick of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, May 9, 2014

Don't make your vehicle a target!

Misfortune can strike anyone anywhere. Thefts from a vehicle can happen while you are at work, at the park, at the store, and even at your own home. If the vehicle is forcibly entered, you will have to pay for repairs or insurance fees in addition to the loss of the stolen items. One of the best ways not to become a victim is to plan ahead carefully and follow some commonsense safety precautions in your daily routine:
  • Lock your car doors, even when parked in your own driveway.
  • If you know you are just going to the park to walk or exercise leave unnecessary items like electronics, important  identification, mail, unneeded cash, credit cards, etc. at home.
  • Do not leave valuables (or things that look of value) such as  purses/tote bags, wallets, laptops, tools or cell phones in plain view. If you know you are going to be driving somewhere and  parking your car, put valuables in the trunk before you leave as not to draw attention to your car.
  • Keep detailed lists (in a safe location at home) of the items  you frequently carry, such as account numbers, credit cards, gas cards, etc. and the proper contact numbers to call to cancel your account. Also list the make, model and serial numbers for electronics such as cell phones, digital cameras, laptops and portable music players.
  • Park somewhere you feel comfortable, like a busy, highly visible area.
  • Remember your pets are valuable too. Do not leave pets in parked cars even for short periods if the temperature is in the 60s or higher. Rolling down a window doesn’t guarantee protection either, pets could escape, be taken from the vehicle or passer-bys could be bitten.
  • Have your keys in your hand as you approach your vehicle and lock the doors once you’re inside.
  • Be aware of park closure times which vary at some locations.
Report suspicious people or activities as they occur to the local police. If visiting a park, contact the Ranger Department at 440-354-3434, or 9-1-1 if it’s an emergency

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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.