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Activities

The 33.5-mile Bike & Hike Trail was one of the first "rails to trails" conversions in the country. It follows the course of the old Akron, Bedford & Cleveland (ABC) Railroad, which was the longest electric railroad of its kind when it was built in 1895. Until service was discontinued in 1932, riders could travel for 50 cents from Akron to Cleveland's Public Square in about 2.5 hours.

Today, east of Route 91 in Munroe Falls, the Bike & Hike Trail parallels a scenic section of the Cuyahoga River where great blue herons, Canada geese and a variety of ducks can be seen. A small pond along the north side of the trail annually hosts a chorus of spring peepers. South of Boston Mills Road in Boston Heights, the Sharon Conglomerate rock walls of the Boston Ledges rise along the trail. Farther north, the trail travels along Brandywine Road. A parking area adjacent to the bridge over I-271 offers rest and a view of Brandywine Falls which, at 75 feet, is one of the highest waterfalls in Ohio.

All 33.5 miles of the Bike & Hike trail are paved. Some portions of the trail use neighborhood streets. Please follow the green biking signs until you rejoin the established trail. For your convenience, restrooms are located at the SR 303, Springdale, Silver Springs and SR 91 lots. Please use trail etiquette while enjoying the trail.

Freedom Trail

Starting at the Portage Hike & Bike Trail in Kent, this proposed multi-purpose trail – on land owned by Metro Regional Transit Authority – will follow an unused railroad corridor, connect to the Tallmadge Trail and continue west to the Towpath Trail via a linkage at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's Northside Station in downtown Akron. Another section may link to the 33.5-mile Bike & Hike Trail in Munroe Falls.

A feasibility study was completed in 2009. Implementation will take place in three phases through 2014. Engineering is underway for the first phase from Southwest Avenue in Tallmadge to Middlebury Road in Kent. Construction will likely begin in 2012.

Amenities

When completed, this eight-mile multi-purpose trail will connect Akron and Kent and will no doubt become another popular destination provided by Metro Parks, Serving County.

Towpath Trail

The Ohio & Erie Canal was a technological marvel. The inland waterway incorporated a series of sandstone locks that enabled boats to climb differences in elevation along the Continental Divide. The steepest section of the canal was between Akron and the Little Cuyahoga River. In a single mile, 15 locks, or "steps," were necessary. Canal boats, which were pulled by mules on the towpath, made it possible to ship goods from the Great Lakes (Lake Erie) to the Gulf of Mexico (via the Ohio and Mississippi rivers). Locally, the canal, which opened between Cleveland and Akron in 1827, can be directly credited with the growth of Akron. The city's population swelled thanks to the bustling activity surrounding the tight bundle of canal locks.

By 1878 the canal's significance was in decline due to the introduction of railroads. After the flood of 1913 the canal was abandoned – less than 100 years after it opened. For many years the canal was largely forgotten about or ignored. The concept of restoring the towpath for use as a multipurpose trail began to emerge in the 1980s, and the first section of the Towpath Trail opened in 1993. Almost overnight, visitation doubled in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Restoration of the towpath quickly spread to municipalities and neighboring park districts, including Metro Parks, Serving Summit County.

Akron Area (Botzum to the Innerbelt/SR-59): Along this 9.28-mile stretch the Cuyahoga and Little Cuyahoga rivers provide habitat for a variety of aquatic wildlife. Birds include herons, geese, ducks and kingfishers. Frogs and salamanders mate and lay eggs in the pools that collect in the flood plains. Water-loving native and non-native trees and shrubs dominate the area. Native species include cottonwood, sycamore, elm and silver maple; their chewed stumps signal beaver activity. Wildflowers abound along the sunny, shrub-less sections of the trail.

Barberton Area (Waterloo Road to Snyder Avenue): Plants that thrive in disrupted soils dominate along this 5.11-mile stretch; they include both native and invasive species. Shrubs include sumac, blackberry and the invasive Japanese knotweed while trees include boxelder, black locust and the invasive tree-of-heaven. Summer and fall wildflowers include Queen Anne's lace, yarrow, teasel, evening primrose and common mullein. The Tuscarawas River and the water-filled canal provide habitat for a variety of aquatic wildlife. Beavers, muskrats, painted and musk turtles, and several types of frogs may be observed along the canal. Kingfishers and great blue herons may be seen stalking fish.

PPG Industries (Eastern Road to Center Road): This 4.54-mile section is built on land leased from PPG Industries. From 1899 until 1973, liquid and solid waste products from the company's chemical plant – mostly lime and water slurry with some sand and salts – were pumped into six settling ponds here called Lime Lakes, covering a total of more than 600 acres. Water was drained from the Lime Lakes, leaving behind fine-grained lime deposits up to 50 feet deep. The resulting flat, barren landscapes were too alkaline and nutrient-poor for plants to grow. In the early 1980s PPG began restoring the local environment, amending the lime deposits with nutrient-rich bio-solids, or sludge, from municipal wastewater treatment plants, a practice often used in farming. Next, vegetation was planted in the artificial soil to reduce the amount of rain that filtered through. The result: Wildlife, including painted turtles, ring-necked pheasants and white tailed deer, has returned to the reclaimed Lime Lakes.

Clinton Area (Center Road to the Stark County line): Along this 2.6-mile section the rich, often-saturated soil of the river floodplain supports an abundance of wildflowers from spring to fall, luring a variety of insects including many butterflies. A number of tree species can be found along the trail, especially those which thrive in wet areas, including hackberry, elm, silver maple and swamp white oak.

Cascade Valley/North

Named for Sherman and Mary Schumacher, who donated 171 acres to Metro Parks in 1968, Schumacher Valley remains one of the most rugged areas within the city of Akron.

Located in the valley's pre-glacial bedrock canyon are steep-cut ravines indicative of the Cuyahoga River's tributary streams. A canopy of oak, American beech, sassafras and black cherry provides cover for smaller shrubs. There are herbs and wildflowers, including spring beauty, Jack-in-the-pulpit, rue anemone and jewelweed. Great horned owls, chickadees and six species of woodpecker take cover here.

Cascade Valley/South

In 1833, hydraulic engineer and entrepreneur Eliakim Crosby built the Cascade Race, a waterway that powered the mills and businesses along the Ohio & Erie Canal. The Cascade Race helped transform Akron into a boomtown. Years later, Crosby built the failed Chuckery Race; traces of it can still be seen in this Metro Park.

Today, fish here are prey for belted kingfishers and great blue or green-backed herons. Beautiful white trillium grows in the floodplain woods each spring beside wild ginger and several types of violets. Summer and fall wildflowers also flourish, illuminating the landscape.

Several rare and unique natural features can be found within the Chuckery Area. South of the entrance drive, near the intersection of the Chuckery Trail, is a meadow that harbors many unusual plants and several species of showy wildflowers. Just up the hill from the meadow is a prairie, where wild lupines bloom about mid-May. Other rare species can be found individually throughout the park, including butternut trees – a species surviving despite the butternut canker disease threatening their range. Less conspicuous, but no less rare, are crinkled hairgrass, satin brome and southern hairy rock cress.

Cascade Locks

Here, along the Towpath Trail , the Cascade Locks tell the story of Akron's early industry. The steepest section of the Ohio & Erie Canal was between Akron and the Little Cuyahoga River. In a single mile, 15 locks, or "steps," were necessary to enable boats to climb the Continental Divide. Locks 10 through 16 form the Cascade Locks Area.

The two buildings north of the parking lot and adjacent to Lock 15 are some of the oldest structures in Akron. The Mustill House and store, built between 1825 and 1850, served the local community and the people traveling the canal. The area was designated as National Historic District in 1992 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Schumacher Cascade Mills site boasts a large open space with several walking paths and interpretive signage explaining the rich history of the site. It was originally home to the Schumacher Cascade Mills, owned by Ferdinand Schumacher, who once owned a quarry in Deep Lock Quarry Metro Park . The large red, metal waterwheel sculpture stands where the mill's water wheel would have stood, at approximately the same height. The building inset on the wheel gives the visitor a glimpse at just how large the structure was in reference to the wheel.

Present throughout the area are native wildflower species, flowers brought by immigrants from Europe, and weeds carried by man, horse and canal boat. The tree population reflects both invasive plants and native trees that are able to flourish in inner-city conditions. Birds seen in this area include robins, blue jays, sparrows, cardinals and red-tailed hawks.

Confluence

This land was purchased for watershed protection with funds through the Ohio EPA. The 110-acre site straddles the Tuscarawas River. With other Metro Parks parcels, land owned by the city of Akron and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, there are approximately 260 acres of protected land and water in the immediate area.

Confluence Metro Park is comprised mostly of high-quality wetlands and land that was impacted from a previous sand and gravel operation. The park district is currently studying the site to determine the most appropriate low-impact improvements. Eventually, we plan to remove invasive species, reintroduce native vegetation and provide a small parking area and hiking trail. Currently, park biologists and volunteers are studying the existing wildlife and habitats. The site may one day be connected to Firestone Metro Park and the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail .

F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm

Many parks exist due to the foresight of a few visionary individuals, including F.A. Seiberling. He donated more than 400 acres to expand Sand Run Metro Park. Land that he owned from 1920 to 1948 was purchased by Metro Parks in 1964 to become the Nature Realm.

Native son Seiberling founded Goodyear Tire & Rubber in 1898. The company produced bicycle and carriage tires and went on to capture the automobile tire business.

Seiberling's interests went well beyond tires. He helped form the original Akron Metropolitan Park District and was a member of the Board of Park Commissioners from 1924 to 1935.

Today, the Nature Realm is a special-use area that has been set aside for the study and enjoyment of nature. For the protection of this park and the safety and enjoyment of other visitors, please follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Dogs are not permitted at the Nature Realm .
  2. Bicycles are only permitted in the parking lot. Rollerblading and cycling are not permitted on the trails.
  3. Remain on designated trails and walkways. Do not climb trees and other structures.
  4. Refrain from picking flowers, walking in garden beds and collecting plants.
  5. Professional photography, wedding ceremonies and the use of portable cooking grills are not permitted.

Firestone Trail

Dairy cows once grazed the hillsides of the area known today as Firestone Metro Park. In 1949, Metro Parks received a gift of 89 acres from the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Acquisitions of nearby parcels expanded the park to 258 acres.

In 1956, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources completed construction of a nearby dam, intended to create a reservoir for industrial water needs. As the reservoir of the adjacent Firestone Golf Course filled, the water table rose downstream, forming the large wetland and marshy meadows of Firestone Metro Park. Along with the Tuscarawas River and Tuscarawas Race, which once channeled water to the Ohio & Erie Canal, the area is home to fish, crayfish, frogs and turtles.

The meadows and forest shelter foxes, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, muskrats, rabbits, mice, voles and moles, along with many beautiful summer and fall wildflowers. More than 175 bird species have been sighted in Firestone Metro Park, including various types of wrens, thrushes, warblers, woodpeckers, herons and ducks. A number of different raptors – including bald eagles – have also been spotted.

A note to visitors: Poison sumac is found in the wet areas of Firestone Metro Park. This small tree/shrub contains a powerful skin irritant, similar to that of poison ivy. To avoid it, stay on designated trails.

Furnace Run

The 890-acre Furnace Run Metro Park began in 1929 when the family of Charles Francis Brush Jr. donated 272 acres to Metro Parks. Much of the park was developed by work relief crews during the 1930s. Brushwood Lake, a once-popular swimming spot before erosion and sedimentation forced its closing in 1956, was created by diverting the natural flow of the Furnace Run.

Every March and April, thousands of daffodils bloom along the H.S. Wagner Daffodil Trail. Wagner, the first director of Metro Parks, owned the land off Brush Road and planted the first bulbs along the trail. After he retired in 1958, he sold the property to Metro Parks and the land became part of Furnace Run Metro Park.

Today, along the Old Mill trail, be sure to look for the Brush Family marker, which reads: "To all those who love as he loved the far sky and smiling land." Just south of Brushwood Lake flows a recently restored stretch of stream. The award-winning environmental project recreated several thousand feet of habitat for aquatic wildlife and native fish, including a thriving population of rainbow darters, a sensitive species.

The park contains beech-maple woods, acres of spring wildflowers – including trillium and Virginia bluebells – and deep ravines. Birds spotted in Furnace Run Metro Park include a variety of owls, hawks, herons, warblers and waterfowl. Downstream from the lake, the wet woods of sycamores, black walnuts, willows and shrubs welcome an occasional family of beavers. Brushwood Lake is home to fish, frogs and other aquatic wildlife.

Goodyear Heights Metro Park

Goodyear Heights Metro Park features the Charles Goodyear Memorial Pavilion and a large play field, hiking trails and areas for fishing, cross-country skiing and sledding

Goodyear Heights Metro Park opened in 1930 after land was donated by Akron's Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and the park district purchased 37 acres from resident Gilbert Waltz. During the Depression, Metro Parks acquired additional acres by paying delinquent taxes on surrounding properties. In the 1950s, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company donated more land.

Thousands of pines and tulip trees were planted in the park. During World War II, Victory Gardens were planted along Newton Street on the former Waltz farm. In 1957, the Charles Goodyear Memorial Pavilion was constructed. It served as the park district's headquarters until 1974, when the offices were moved to Sand Run Metro Park.

Today, the pines planted in this 410-acre park are slowly giving way to black cherries, oaks and tuliptrees through natural succession. Elsewhere, beech trees, sugar maples, basswoods, pin oaks, red maples and blackgum trees grow. In the north-central section, acidic soils support sassafras and sarsaparilla, species that were once used in beverage making.

Along the edge of Alder Pond, a cattail marsh provides good wildlife habitat. The pond supports sphagnum moss and yellow birch trees, muskrats, nesting Canada geese and mallards. Late spring is a great time to view snapping turtles, some up to 20 pounds, basking in the sun. The park's woods are home to owls and other wildlife.

Gorge

Save the Gorge : A Fairlawn company that wanted to build a hydro plant in Gorge Metro Park scrapped its plans June 12, 2009. The project would have led to the construction of roads, the destruction of old growth forests, the loss of sensitive habitat for numerous rare and endangered species, poor water quality and the destruction of park views and aesthetics.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported June 14, 2009: "A long and heated battle over adding hydroelectric facilities to a Cuyahoga River dam between Akron and Cuyahoga Falls appears over."

In 1759, a 12-year-old girl was captured in Pennsylvania by Delaware Indians and reportedly brought to a cave in present-day Gorge Metro Park, where she lived as a child of Chief Netawatwees. Young Mary Campbell, for whom the cave is named, unwittingly became the first white child in what was then the wild frontier of the Western Reserve. Mary later settled with the tribe in a village along the banks of the Cuyahoga River, not far from the cave. She was released in 1764 after a treaty ended the French and Indian War.

Thousands of years before Mary's adventures, the Gorge was cut when glacial debris blocked the former route of the Cuyahoga River (near present-day downtown Akron) and caused the river to find a new course. Today, the rushing water flows over a shale riverbed, between ledges made of Sharon conglomerate sandstone. Oak, blackgum, tulip and yellow birch trees are common in the woods that cover the valley walls.

This 155-acre Metro Park was made possible in 1930, when the Northern Ohio Traction & Light Company, the predecessor of Ohio Edison, donated 144 acres of land to Metro Parks. Previously, the area hosted a park of a different sort – the High Bridge Glens Amusement Park, which opened in 1882 and featured a thrilling rollercoaster and a dance hall.

Hampton Hills

In 1964 the City of Akron needed flat land on which to build a water tower. It leased 116 acres of woods and ravines to Metro Parks in exchange for land within Goodyear Heights Metro Park. Three years later, Rhea H. and E. Reginald Adam donated 162 acres of adjacent farm land to Metro Parks, and the 278-acre Hampton Hills Metro Park was born. In 2010, the park district signed a lease for the adjacent Hardy Road landfill, bringing the park to its current size of 655 acres.

More than 10,000 years ago, glaciers retreated from Northeast Ohio, carving ravines and valleys. The glacially-formed Adam Run Valley is home to an unusual plant called rush, which lines the banks of the stream. Along the trails, oak, elm, sycamore and black walnut trees provide habitat for a variety of birds and other wildlife. A grove of white pine, planted by Girl Scouts in the late 1960s, offers visitors a cool, scented respite.

Today, at the Top O' the World Area, open fields contain milkwort, ironweed, Queen Anne's lace, goldenrods and asters. Bluebird boxes, which are monitored by volunteers, rise above the meadow grasses. Each summer, bluebirds sit perched atop the nest boxes, watching for their insect prey. Other notable bird species include woodcocks, wild turkeys and large birds of prey like red-tailed hawks. The hawks can be seen soaring above the meadows as they hunt for small voles and mice.

Liberty Park

Long before Liberty Park was formed, humans in prehistory camped here, drank the clean, cold springs and hunted game. Upon European settlement, trees were cleared for farming, but maples were spared for their sweet sap.

Today, the 1,908-acre Liberty Park is a unique partnership between the City of Twinsburg and the park district. The city manages the park's 100-acre recreation area, including the play fields and playground. Metro Parks manages the remaining acreage, including three trails and the Pond Brook Conservation Area. Both areas are open 6 a.m. to sunset.

Large trees exist on rock ledges and in wetlands within the conservation area, where fens and bogs are "protected" by poison sumac and swamp rose. Metro Parks has designated this a Low Impact Area, meaning mowing, trails and other park improvements will be kept to a minimum. This protects the various species that live in the area's wetlands and vernal pools.

Liberty Park harbors countless rare and endangered species, including Indiana bats, marsh wrens, ospreys and bald eagles. Other creatures seen here include beavers, long-tailed weasels, dragonflies, butterflies, red-backed salamanders, wood frogs and turtles. In July 2006, Audubon Ohio named Liberty Park an Important Bird Area.

Munroe Falls

Lake Area
521 S. River Rd., Munroe Falls

Tallmadge Meadows Area
1088 North Ave., Tallmadge

Hours
6 a.m. - 11 p.m.;
(During swim season, the Lake Area is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

Munroe Falls Metro Park offers lake swimming, picnic areas, pedal boat rental, a children's play area, soccer field, and basketball, volleyball and tennis courts. Admission is charged for entrance to the park each summer. During swim season, pets are not permitted in the park. Lifeguards are on duty, and a first aid station and snack stand are available. Fishing is permitted at Heron Pond. Sledding and cross-country-skiing are permitted in winter. Three picnic shelters can be reserved.

Before Metro Parks purchased 222 acres from the Renner family in 1978, John Renner owned and operated a swimming park here. In the 1930s, the family built a two-room summer cabin and dug a small fishing lake near the present park entrance. By 1935 they constructed a house and lived here year-round, and they soon realized their lake was popular with swimmers. To discourage visitors, they started charging 10 cents per visit, but this only attracted more people. To accommodate the new business, they created the current 13-acre lake in 1937 and named the place Renner Park.

John Renner, an engineer who built many homes in Akron's Goodyear Heights area, also tried raising pigs on the southeast side of the lake. Price restrictions enacted during World War II made his farming venture unprofitable.

In 2007, Metro Parks acquired the adjacent 287-acre former County Home property, bringing this park to its current 509 acres. Today, the sandy, acidic soils of Munroe Falls Metro Park permit the growth of flora that is typically uncommon in Summit County. Blueberries, shiny club moss, ground pine and a colony of Ohio haircap moss flourish here. Trees include black gum, sassafras and tulip. Beavers, frogs, turtles, salamanders and crayfish are seen in both Beaver and Heron ponds.

O'Neil Woods

In addition to hiking trails, the 295-acre O'Neil Woods features picnic tables, grills and restrooms near the parking area.

William O'Neil, founder of General Tire and Rubber Company, and his wife Grace donated their 242-acre family farm to Metro Parks in 1972. Their son, M. Gerald O'Neil, served on the Board of Park Commissioners from 1969 to 1978.

The O'Neil family had cattle and horses, and their old barn still stands; the structure is an ideal bat "condo." Other winged creatures in O'Neil Woods include eastern bluebirds, which nest in boxes maintained by staff and volunteers throughout the park.

Eastern woodcocks, barred owls, pileated woodpeckers, song sparrows, kingfishers and ruffed grouse have been spotted among the park's oak, black willow, eastern cottonwood, sycamore and black walnut trees. Ferns and wildflowers carpet the ground. Yellow Creek, the cleanest tributary to the Cuyahoga River, harbors turtles, frogs and a variety of fish. Biologists believe this creek's fish will eventually re-colonize the polluted river as cleanup efforts continue.

Sand Run

The 994-acre Sand Run Metro Park opened in 1929, but the area has been welcoming visitors for centuries. The land surrounding Mingo Pavilion was a campsite for Mingo Indians. Portage Path was once an important Native American trail between the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers; later, it was the western boundary of the United States. A high ridge above the Wadsworth Area was a lookout point for General Elijah Wadsworth, who made his camp near the present-day Old Portage Area during the War of 1812.

In the 1930s, Sand Run Parkway and many of the surrounding shelters and structures were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1974, the park district's Administrative Offices were moved here from Goodyear Heights Metro Park.

Today, visitors can drive through the ford crossing where Sand Run meanders across Sand Run Parkway. In the cool, shady ravines of Sand Run and its tributary streams, hemlocks, ferns, skunk cabbage and large colonies of horsetails grow. Each spring, large-flowered trilliums and other seasonal blooms appear, including bishop's cap, foam flower, bloodroot and pale violet.

The towering forest is home to red, gray, black and fox squirrels; screech, barred and great horned owls; and pileated woodpeckers. Red-tailed hawks roost in the treetops when they are not soaring over the ridges. Many rare species inhabit the park, including sharp-shinned hawks, butternut trees, and native orchids.

Near the intersection of Sand Run Parkway and Merriman Road is a small wetland that has become a highly productive amphibian breeding area. Every spring, the parkway is closed on nights when spotted salamanders migrate to this area for mating. The phenomenon has become a popular attraction for robust nature enthusiasts who often stand in the rain to witness hundreds of salamanders crossing the road. Other amphibians that breed in this area include spring peepers, wood frogs, American toads and green frogs.

Silver Creek

The 624-acre Silver Creek Metro Park is tucked away in a quiet, rural area near Norton. Observant visitors will see traces of the past. Open fields, fence rows and a stately old barn, part of which dates back to the Civil War, are evidence of the park's former life as the Harter Dairy Farm. Other secrets are less visible. Buried beneath the surface is a maze of tunnels and shafts – remnants of a 19th Century mining operation.

The one-time farm has changed a great deal since Metro Parks acquired the land in 1966. Thousands of trees have been planted, and the bathhouse and 50-acre lake – fed by a spring from an old mine near Wall Road – were built in the early 1990s.

Today, iron-laden water from the mine shafts feed into Silver Creek, coating the bottom of the stream with reddish-brown iron-oxide, yet fish, frogs and other animals thrive. The open fields are home to woodcocks, meadowlarks and eastern bluebirds. Many butterflies flutter among the flowers and grasses. Hawks circle overhead to hunt rabbits, mice and voles living in the grasses and weeds below. Deer travel among the woods, fields and wetlands. Tall sycamores grow in soggy areas, and hickory woods grow in drier spots. The beech-maple woods contain spring wildflowers. One of the largest northern red oaks in Summit County – 20 feet in circumference – stands in this park.

Springfield Bog

The 256-acre Springfield Bog Metro Park includes a hiking trail, two bogs, a manmade wetland and 165-acre prairie in progress.

Springfield Bog Metro Park opened January 5, 2011, and it is our first "Watch Us Grow" opportunity. Over the next few years, visitors will see quite a change as more than 40 varieties of prairie plants transform the former farmland. The result could be a birding hotspot, attracting bobolinks, meadowlarks, rails and other grassland nesting species.

So why a prairie? Ohio's earliest land surveys showed prairies near bogs on the Continental Divide. The park's natural features include Young's Bogs – formed after glacial depressions filled with water and sphagnum moss formed dense, floating mats of peat – and the Divide, which causes water to the north to flow to Lake Erie, while water to the south flows to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.

The bogs were named for the Young family that settled here in 1877. These wetlands once produced a growth of huckleberries that drew enthusiastic pickers all the way from Canton, Akron and points north via the Akron-Canton Interurban Railway. Commercial picking stopped sometime in the 1950s.

Wood Hollow

Plans for the 150-acre park include a primitive trail and small parking lot, similar to what visitors to the Daffodil Trail lot in Furnace Run Metro Park have come to enjoy.

All but three acres of this 150-acre park – best described as rolling with small wetlands – were donated to Metro Parks in 2009. When it opens, don't look for deep, wooded ravines as the the name might suggest. Instead, try to spot large beech and sugar maple trees that have died and rotted from the inside out. These "wood hollows" are habitat for a variety of wildlife: insects, nesting birds, bats and other small mammals.

The woods also contain swamp and pin oaks, swamp buttercup, milkweed and liverworts. Many common bird species are visible, like nuthatches, chickadees, woodpeckers and hawks. On warm spring days, amphibians can be heard calling from vernal pools.

Camping

Camping Along the Towpath

Metro Parks permits camping year-round along the Towpath Trail at two primitive sites: one at the Big Bend Trailhead in Akron, a second about 1/4 mile south of the Franklin Trailhead on Center Road in New Franklin. Camping is permitted for one-night stays only, and sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Reservations are not required, though campers are required to sign-in at the kiosk by providing their names, zip codes, arrival date, the number of people in their group and their departure date.

By signing in, campers agree to follow all Metro Parks rules and regulations . The privilege of using a camping area may be revoked at any time.

Camping Rules

  1. Sites are provided for touring the Towpath and Buckeye trails only.
  2. Motorized vehicles are prohibited.
  3. Camping is permitted in designated areas only.
  4. Multiple-night and long-term stays are prohibited.
  5. Each site allows a maximum of four people.
  6. Campfires are prohibited. Use cooking stoves only.
  7. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
  8. Remove all trash and practice “leave-no-trace” ethics.
  9. All persons must complete the sign-in sheet at the kiosk.

For more information, call the administrative offices at 330-867-5511, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Fishing

Fishing Guidelines
State of Ohio fishing regulations apply. The use of traps, spears, gigs, bows, arrows and unattended hooks is prohibited. Only children 15 and younger are permitted to fish at Little Turtle Pond in Firestone Metro Park.

For more information, call the administrative offices at 330-867-5511, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Kayaking

Kayakers may access the Cuyahoga River through Gorge Metro Park, but only with an approved SPECIAL-USE PERMIT .

Note: A permit by Metro Parks to portage kayaks to the river is neither expressed nor implied approval of kayaking on the Cuyahoga.

Before venturing out, kayakers may want to check out American Whitewater , a Web site with a comprehensive overview of this section of the river.

Questing

From April 15 to November 15 , 2012 , search for more than 25 hidden treasure boxes along the Ohio & Erie Canalway. Follow rhyming clues and curious maps, and along the way discover natural and cultural gems.
To participate, find a quest box, sign your name in the log book and collect an impression of the unique quest stamp. Unlike geocaching, no GPS unit is needed, and you don't take or add items to the quest box.
For more information and to download the quests, visit www.ohioanderiecanalway.com and search under Activities for Questing. Quests also are available at select park visitor centers.
The Canalway Quests program is a partnership between Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland Metroparks, Cascade Locks Park Association, Stark Parks, the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association and Metro Parks, Serving Summit County.

Swimming

Enjoy lake swimming at two Metro Parks: Munroe Falls and Silver Creek . Swim areas are open daily, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. During swim season, an admission fee or season pass is required to enter the Lake Area at Munroe Falls and the beach at Silver Creek.

Daily admission is $4 for adults and teens (ages 13 and older), $3 for children (ages 2 to 12). Kids under 2 are admitted free. Age at time of purchase determines price.

For more information, call the administrative offices at 330-867-5511, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.