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Parks & Recreation
January 23, 2014 by Staff Report | No Comments

Geauga Park District offers awesome opportunities to be…


For more information, contact the park district at 440-286-9516 or visit

Winter Wonderlands

Geauga Park District offers awesome opportunities to be active and well during our Northeast Ohio winters: sledding hills, groomed cross country ski trails, plowed walking trails and winter camping spots.

Popular sledding hills are free fun at Orchard Hills Park in Chesterland and Beartown Lakes Reservation in Auburn Township. Orchard Hills even offers after-dark sledding; just find the pole with the Lights sign and switch, and if youre last to leave, please turn the lights off.

Have cross country skis? Pack them up and head to one of the two regularly groomed trails: The Maple Highlands Trail, from Mountain Run Station in Chardon to Claridon Troy Road in Troy, or Orchard Hills Park in Chesterland. Grooming updates are regularly posted at

For walkers, park operations crews regularly clear snow from paved trails at four parks: Walter C. Best Wildlife Preserve in Chardon, Frohring Meadows in Bainbridge, Sunnybrook Preserve in Chesterland and The Maple Highlands Trail – north from Big Creek Spur north to the Lake County line. (The trail will not be plowed from the spur south along Route 44 to the Highway Patrol.)

Connect with ones inner survivalist by cold-weather camping at Chickagami Park, Headwaters Park or Big Creek Park, all equipped with tent pads and lean-to shelters with fireplaces to keep one warm all night long. Camping reservations are free for Geauga County residents; visit the website or call to reserve a site.

And if one is already counting the days until spring, theres no more exciting place to hike in late winter than Swine Creek Reservation, where soon visitors will see the telltale taps and buckets hanging in preparation for Geauga Park Districts sweet maple sugaring operation and annual Saps-A-Risin celebration in March.

For information on naturalist-led programs that also make wellness fun, visit the park district website.

Winter Fun Day

Winter Fun Day is Jan. 26 from 1-4 p.m. at Orchard Hills Park, 11340 Caves Road in Chesterland.

Hot cocoa, family time on a sled, catching snowflakes, getting exercise on skis and enjoying the crisp air by an outdoor fire are all things visitors can do in one day at Orchard Hills Park.

The duration of the program will host sledding, snowshoe sampling and winter games, activities, crafts and wildlife. Participants can also learn to ski from noon to 2 p.m., and from 3-4 p.m., take in a winter safety presentation by the Ohio Division of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife and U.S. Coast Guard that will include ice safety, rescue equipment, tips on emergency assistance and self rescue.

Volunteers will have a cozy fire going and warm drinks and refreshments the whole time for guests enjoyment.

Registration is not required. Activities will utilize both the main Orchard Hills Lodge and the shelter at the base of the sledding hill.

Healthy Inside And Out

For its commitment to employee health, Geauga Park District has become a proud recipient of the Ohio Department of Healths 2013 Healthy Ohio Healthy Worksite Bronze Level Award.

The award recognizes comprehensive worksite health promotion and wellness programs, as well as efforts to facilitate and encourage employee health, enhance productivity and ensure a healthy work environment.

Geauga Park District employees embrace nature. They are outdoor people who welcome wellness initiatives and welcome monthly wellness tips via email. Some enjoy park trails at lunchtime and many are regulars at the Park Districts public programs for hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, yoga and hound hiking.

The park districts wellness team consists of employees from differing departments who meet several times a year to promote wellness to the staff and plan the annual September wellness workshop. Speakers cover healthy messages for the body, mind and soul.

Geauga Park District also participates in events such as health walks and Race for the Cure. It holds biannual food drives and the United Way Turkey Bowl each November, yielding more than $1,000 annually for local food pantries. It participates in healthcare consortium-initiated wellness activities, such as the Get Fit on Route 66 program.

In order to reduce the employee contribution to Geauga Countys group health care coverage, wellness initiatives are established by the county wellness team and must be completed each year to qualify for the lower contribution rate. Initiatives include an annual physical and the choice of three other health-related screenings or activity/expo attendance. Renewal rates remain low and even experienced a reduction in 2012.

Geauga Park District strives to reach community members with a message of environmentalism, preservation and appreciation for their natural resources.


Winter Bird Open House

Lake Metroparks will host a free Winter Bird Open House Jan. 26 from noon to 4 pm. at Penitentiary Glen Nature Center, 8668 Kirtland Chardon Road in Kirtland.

Watch the birds at the feeders through the Window on Wildlife and ask a naturalist all ones bird and bird feeding questions. The afternoon will feature free, fun activities for the whole family.

For more information, call 440-256-1404 or visit

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