Over Easy: The Cleveland Metro Parks
One of the parts of Cleveland I enjoy the most is the Cleveland Metropolitan Park System or Metro Parks AKA the Emerald Necklace.
The oldest park district in Ohio, the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District was born in 1917, the initiative of a young, self-taught engineer who had conceived the idea of an outer chain of parks with connecting boulevards some 12 years earlier. William Stinchcomb’s genius was to anticipate the future need for open space at a time when Cuyahoga County outside of Cleveland was still largely rural. From a few scattered donations of land in the Rocky River Valley, the Park District grew to embrace some of the most scenic areas of Greater Cleveland.
From Lake Erie on the West Side to Lake Erie on the East side, the park system encircles Cleveland and also takes in a good part of the Cuyahoga River Valley National Park. Metro Parks also maintains a large portion of the Ohio and Erie Canal Tow Path trail, which is used heavily by walkers and bikers alike. As well as the many hiking paths and bridal paths through out the park system.
Most of the major estuaries to the Cuyahoga river as well as other streams, rivers and creaks are also part of the park system as well. Each know as a reservation. There is a Rocky River reservation, Canalway Center reservation, Bedford Reservation – which has some very scenic views and hiking, biking and bridal paths – North Chagrin and South Chagrin Reservation on the Chagrin River, Euclid Creek Reservation in Euclid Ohio, just to name a few. Garfield Park reservation is just a few blocks from me and I walk down there often.
The Metro Park system also maintains Nature Centers at nearly all the reservations with bird watching areas and nature programs for young people. They also maintain the main swimming area at Edgewater Beach and The MetroParks ZOO.
So if you should ever find yourself up here in Cleveland be sure to visit one of the Metro Parks.