Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Auditor of State Dave Yost presents Lake Metroparks the Auditor of State Award with Distinction

Auditor of State Dave Yost (on left)
Paul Palagyi, Lake Metroparks Interim Executive Director • Ken Kleppel, Administrative Services Director

A recent financial audit of Lake Metroparks (Lake County) by Auditor of State Dave Yost’s office has returned a clean audit report.  Lake Metroparks’ excellent record keeping has earned it the Auditor of State Award with Distinction, which Auditor Yost presented to Lake Metroparks on Tuesday, October 16.

Lake Metroparks takes public accountability seriously and understands the need to remain sensitive to the ever-changing economic conditions and demands we all face. Even though a zero-growth operating budget was maintained for the past four years, Lake Metroparks tightened its belt even further by reducing operating expenses by 5 percent in 2012. Energy savings and several other cost containment measures are constantly evaluated and implemented to reduce expenditures. The park system is currently operating with 28 fewer full-time employees than it had in 1994 while protecting 2,785 more acres of unique natural resources than it did at the time. As staff throughout the park system retire or move on to positions outside the agency, each vacancy is evaluated and not filled whenever possible; responsibilities are reassigned to remaining staff in order to reduce costs. 

Auditor of State Dave Yost with Ken Kleppel
and the Lake Metroparks finance group
The park system will never take the support of the people it serves for granted. The agency has a remarkable track record of augmenting local tax monies with outside sources, including private contributions, sponsorships and more than $15 million in grants since 1990. Lake Metroparks has been recognized on the local, state and national levels for its fiscal responsibility. 

The taxpayers of Lake County rightfully insist on the wise and practical administration of their investment in the park district that they own. Clean audits and awards are expected—and that is exactly what Lake Metroparks consistently delivers. 

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost said “Taxpayers expect accurate financial records from their local governments. Lake Metroparks’ dedication to accountability is evident, and I am proud to present the Auditor of State Award with Distinction in person to the park district.” 

This marks the 16th year in a row that Lake Metroparks has been awarded the Auditor’s Award.  Other financial accolades the park district has received include:

  • 2001 - Recognized by Auditor of State Petro and by GASB Chairman Tom Allen for Early Implementation of GASB 34
  • 1990 – 2010 - Received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.
  • 2010 - Received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada and in 2002 received the “Award for Excellence (Pension and Benefits)” from the same organization.
The Auditor of State Award with Distinction is presented to local governments and school districts upon the completion of a financial audit.  Entities that receive the award meet the following criteria of a “clean” audit report:
  • The entity must file timely financial reports with the Auditor of State’s office in the form of a CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report);
  • The audit report does not contain any findings for recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, Single Audit findings or questioned costs.
The entity’s management letter contains no comments related to:
  • Ethics referrals
  • Questioned costs less than $10,000
  • Lack of timely report submission
  • Reconciliation
  • Failure to obtain a timely Single Audit
  • Findings for recovery less than $100
  • Public meetings or public records
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 state and local government agencies.  Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lake Metroparks Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs

The Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs (HOFNOD) program was developed over 20 years ago by the Future Fisherman Foundation.  This national program uses angling skill development as a gateway to teach youth about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and how to deal with the challenges facing them in their young lives.  The activities and lessons are designed to enable the young participants to become ethical anglers and also to grow into adults that will make wise decisions for themselves and the environment. 

In addition to fishing, the participants will learn to rig their own gear, equipment choices and casting, fish identification and ecology, aquatic habitats, fishing regulations and ethics, the effects of pollution, respect for one’s self and others, and many other life skills all proving that fishing is a wholesome activity that can be accomplished with family or friends without the use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco.  Children will have classroom instruction, crafts, games and activities, and daily fishing opportunities.  No fishing equipment or experience needed!

This unique camp receives support and assistance from the following agencies:
Lake Metroparks Ranger Department, LMP Volunteers, Lake County Narcotics P.L.U.S. Officers, Crossroads, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Fairport Fish Research Unit,
Lake County Soil & Water, and the North Coast Fly Fishers.

There are limited openings in the camp scheduled July 16 - 20.

Please register online at lakemetroparks.com or call the Lake Metroparks Registration Department at 440-358-7275 or 1-800-669-9226.

Registration is on a first come – first served

Friday, June 29, 2012

Lake Erie Bluffs - Breathtaking scenery with beach access

Lake Erie Bluffs opens to the public June 30, 2012

Overlook at Lake Erie Bluffs
This 139-acre wooded parcel along the shore of Lake Erie in Perry Township provides public access to a beautiful stretch of natural beach. Lake Erie Bluffs hugs the lakeshore offering visitors a bird’s-eye view from the scenic overlook of the beauty and drama of the ever-changing Lake Erie. Throughout all seasons, the lives of resident and migrant birds are greatly influenced by this amazing natural resource. Park hours: Sunrise to sunset.

Click here for a list of park amenities and directions to Lake Erie Bluffs.

Visitors can enjoy low-impact recreational activities such as hiking and fishing at this new park. Improvements made to enhance public use include a parking lot, picnic areas, restrooms, and installation of a half mile-long loop gravel trail with a scenic overlook and a grand access point to a natural beach along Lake Erie. 

When you visit Lake Erie Bluffs, let us know your thoughts about this new treasure. 
Tweet @Lake_Metroparks and include #LakeErieBluffs in your message.

A Local Natural Area with National Significance

In 2004, a Presidential Task Force developed solutions to restore the Great Lakes. The resulting Great Lakes Regional Collaborative Strategy (GLRCS) generated nine priorities to restore the Great Lakes including “a need for significantly more habitat conservation and species management.” Preservation of prime natural coastline, such as Lake Erie Bluffs, contributes to the overall health of the Great Lakes region.
Natural Beach at Lake Erie Bluffs
Lake Erie Bluffs is easily accessible and is located within a half-mile of the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail—Ohio’s 293-mile National Scenic Byway that passes through quaint communities and historical sites, and connects a myriad of natural and cultural features including coastal marshes, prairies, rivers, waterfalls, museums and lighthouses.

This project was funded in part by NOAA, Ohio Costal Management Program, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District, The Trust for Public Land, and the Clean Ohio Fund.

Rare Species

Lake Erie Bluffs permanently protects a significant amount of wetland, meadow and lakefront habitat used by rare and common plant and animal species.  Beaches are very dynamic. Annual fluctuations in Great Lakes water levels and even one severe storm can wipe out a population of plants or bring in new seeds or roots to establish new plant communities.

Click here to see what some of the nearly 20 rare species that have been found and documented at Lake Erie Bluffs. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Paine Full Day

As the sun rose over the Chagrin River a hot chrome hen tail-walked in the mist across the river.  It's gonna be a good day Tater!
It's always nice to start the day on familiar waters.  The Chag didn't let me down yesterday.  I fished her for a couple of hours and moved on to the Grand River.

The Grand's flow was finally coming down, but when I arrived on the scene, the visibility was still pretty poor.  What to do?

A friend recently told me to consider Paine Creek sometime when the major tribs are blown.  I had already seen a couple other Grand River feeder creeks and they were low and clear (even less ideal).  But Paine Creek is supposed to be very scenic and boasts a well known waterfall.  So, I thought I would waste some time surveying the creek and just enjoy the hike.  Any fish would be a bonus.  My hope was that the Grand would continue to improve and I could get back to her later.

Upon arriving at the creek, I noticed there were several Lake Metroparks trucks in the area with numerous rangers trolling up and down the creek on all-terrain vehicles with large tanks on them. I stopped and talked to the rangers.  They were stocking rainbow trout in the creek.

This is not my style of fishing, but I had time to burn.  I joked to one of the rangers that had I known this situation was going to arise today, I would have brought my 3wt rod.  He immediately responded, "You better stick to that heavy rod.  We've stocked some really large rainbows and some extra steelhead from the hatchery are mixed in as well."

So, I started my hike up the creek.  All I can say is that this is a stunning creek.  The hike alone was worth the day.

I tied on a single egg pattern and a small beadhead Prince nymph.  The flow in the creek was pretty low, so I decided a tiny strike indicator might be helpful.  I made a drift across a deep hole and quickly caught a feisty little bow.

I continued to make my way up this majestic creek enjoying my Friday smoke and catching rainbows left and right.  And yes, I was routinely catching fish in the 20" range...which is what I thought the ranger meant by "steelhead size."

I fished that creek from about 11:00am until 5:00pm and had a ball.  I endured a couple of thunderstorms.  I suspect I caught 30-40 rainbows along the way.  All the while I was thinking how great would it be to have my kids with me?

I wanted to head back down to the main river and make a few swings for some fresh chrome.  As I walked down the creek, I noticed a couple of large shadows in a pool.  I was not sure if they were steelhead or maybe even carp.  I made a drift through the pool and a huge rainbow came up and hit my strike indicator.  Pellet-head!  I made a 2nd drift and he hit the indicator again.  Strangely, I don't carry any dry flies or strike indicators with hooks in them in my steelhead box.  I made a third drift and this time my indicator stopped cold and something HUGE came out of the water with my CopperJohn in it's mouth.  It was on!
This thing was powerful and energized.  Man did it have shoulders on it.  I knew it was big, but sometimes it's just hard to tell how big until it hits the net.  I had the fish near the net for a moment and it shot off again.  In that moment I saw the girthiest rainbow of my life.  This thing had king salmon shoulders on it.

The fish and I went back and forth several times and finally I got it in the net.  HEAVY!  This fish had to weigh 15lbs.  I measured the fish and it was 30" long and 20 inches in girth.  WHAT?  I'll tell you what.  We call that a Pellet-Hog.  It was a steelhead, but it had to be a stocker from the hatchery.  No steelhead out of the lake hits your strike indicator.

As I was leaving the creek, I ran into the rangers again.  They were coming in to do a little fishing themselves.  I mentioned the fish I had just caught.  The ranger just laughed and said, "I told you that heavy rod would be fine.  Those fish are from the Castalia Hatchery and they threw in a few of their big steelhead stock as well."

Kudos to the
Lake Metroparks for putting together such a nice stocking program on their creeks.  As I thought about it through the day, I remembered, the point of this blog is to help folks with limited time maximize there time in the outdoors.  So yea, across the board, I really don't like to chase stockies.  But, when your time is limited, I have to tell you...you can't beat this little Paine Creek for a good time.  It may not be Montana, but when you see the beauty of the creek and bring a few nice rainbows to hand, you'll be glad you took a few hours out of your week to be there.  I liked it so much, I'm going to take one of my daughters back today.  I can't wait to share it with her!

UPDATE: 4/3/11 - I received word from another local fisheries biologist concerning the big TOAD this morning.  He said he was stocking some of their streams yesterday and they use the same supplier as Lake Metroparks.  The same gentleman supplied the fish for Paine Creek last Friday.  He said he did NOT put any 10lb+ fish in Paine Creek and that slab has to be from the Lake Erie.  Interesting.  I have seen steelhead surface and I read reports every year about them being caught on dry flies.  I have never had one repeatedly hit a strike indicator.  I guess that's what happens when steelhead don't read the books we write about them ;)  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Natural + Recycled materials = Art

Spring can’t be too far away when the days are getting warmer, daylight lasts a little longer, and Lake Metroparks unveils its annual Spring Art Show.  Woven from Nature will allow you to discover how artists have taken natural and recycled materials and transformed them into wonderful and whimsical works of art. 

Lake Metroparks presents
Spring Art Show: Woven from Nature
Penitentiary Glen Reservation
March 10 - May 13, 2012
Nature offers us an endless variety of raw materials in different shapes, colors, and textures. Woven from Nature will be on display in the Nature Center at Penitentiary Glen Reservation in Kirtland. The show opens March 10 and runs through May 13. 

Artwork on display will be available for purchase; proceeds benefiting the Penitentiary Glen Nature Center.

Visitors are invited to meet the artists at a free opening reception on March 10 from noon to 4 pm.

Click here for hours, admission and directions to Penitentiary Glen Reservation.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lake Metroparks preserves maple woodland through maple sugaring

Lake Metroparks preserves 27 acres of maple woodland through the conservation efforts of the maple sugaring program at Farmpark. Be part of this conservation effort with an opportunity to adopt a tap and enjoy a unique maple experience while supporting Farmpark’s maple operation.

Maple Sugaring Weekend
Lake Metroparks Farmpark
March 10 & 11 • 9 am to 5 pm

Ever wonder how maple syrup is produced?  

Tap into the fun and discover how 100% pure maple syrup is made during Maple Sugaring Weekend. At Farmpark, you can watch the entire process as the sap is collected, boiled, and turned into maple syrup and other products. New this year, through the use of reverse-osmosis, over 50% of the water is removed from the sap prior to boiling which saves both time and resources.

Throughout the weekend, demonstrations offer hands-on opportunities to learn about the maple sugaring process. Help tap a tree and gather sap used to make maple syrup. You’ll even learn how you can make maple syrup in your own backyard. A video about the production of maple syrup is online at lakemetroparks.com on the Maple Sugaring Weekend page. Maple sugaring activities and demonstrations include:
  • Maple flavored ice cream making
  • Sugar bush and maple conservation tours
  • Make a model mokuk (bark bucket)
  • Silver dollar pancake samples
  • Horse-drawn sap gathering
  • Hand tree tapping
  • Sugar making
  • Maple leaf craft
  • History of maple sugar exhibit 
Sample the delicious end product with freshly made maple syrup and maple sugar. Maple stirs available for purchase to make your own tasty treat. Take some of Farmpark’s very own pure maple syrup and other maple items home to enjoy. Maple products are available for sale in the Woodland Science Center and Gift Shop.

Maple Sugaring Weekend pours into Farmpark March 10 and 11. Hours are 9 am – 5 pm. For more information, visit lakemetroparks.com or call 440-256-2122 or 800-366-3276.  
If you can’t join us this weekend then mark your calendars as maple maple activities and pancake breakfasts will also be offered March 17 and 18.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kids Explore the Outdoors this Summer at a Lake Metroparks Day Camp!

Hey moms and dads: let your children explore the outdoors this summer at a summer day camp with Lake Metroparks.  Children ages five to 16 will experience the outdoors this summer while participating in one or more of the 50 offerings available.  Lake Metroparks summer day camps offer hands-on fun and educational activities including nature, farming, fishing, wildlife, boating, field trips, and so much more.  Camps are held at various parks throughout Lake County and are led by qualified staff.   Extended care is available for some camps.

A complete listing of Lake Metroparks summer day camps is available online at lakemetroparks.com and in the Spring Parks Plus! activity guide.


Pre-registration is required to participate in Lake Metroparks Summer Day Camps and/or the extended hours offerings.  Registration for Lake County residents begins at 8:00 am Thursday, March 1.  Open registration begins 8:00 am March 8. Registration for camps is available online at lakemetroparks.com or by calling 440-358-7275 or 800-669-9226.  In person registration is available at the Lake Metroparks Registration Office located at 11211 Spear Rd in Concord Twp.   Registration for extended care is available by phone or in person only.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012