FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
BOB ROTATORI - 216-635-3263- or -
ALYSSA COOK-ALEXANDER - 216-635-3274
In an address to the Probate Court of Cuyahoga County in 1918,
the Cleveland Metropolitan Park Board quoted Charles Eliot,
president of Harvard University, saying �The vital question of
modern life is how to feed the mental health and spiritual growth
For William A. Stinchcomb and the commissioners of the Cleveland
Metropolitan Park Board, the answer to this question was to create
one continuous outer parkway encircling Cuyahoga County. The Park
Board believed that the move away from the city would foster the
right environment to relax and heal the common problems of the
city, which included stress and inactivity.
This plan would be the formation of the �Emerald Necklace� or
the system of greenspace that make up Cleveland Metroparks.
On July 23, 2012, Cleveland Metroparks celebrates 95 years of
progress and serving the people with a Park District that includes
22,000 acres of various landscapes and attractions for visitors to
enjoy. Following the vision of the first director-secretary,
William Stinchcomb, the Park District today continues its mission
of conservation, education and recreation.
The first decade of its existence, Cleveland Metroparks pushed
to acquire more land for conservation, working with local owners
and community organizations that were already looking for park
development in their neighborhoods.
During the 1920s, the park board obtained 9,000 acres in nine
reservations - Rocky River, Huntington, Big Creek, Hinckley,
Brecksville, Bedford, South Chagrin, North Chagrin, and Euclid
Creek - putting Cleveland Metroparks at the forefront of the county
park movement in the United States.
With the economy hurting due to The Great Depression, Cleveland
Metroparks moved from land acquisition and hired as many men as
possible to work on park development, building more drives, trails
and picnic grounds. By 1936, 5,000 men were working through the
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Work Projects Administration
(WPA) programs, building roads, trails, bridges and shelterhouses,
as well as making other improvements.
The board labeled 1931 �A Year of Progress,� saying �All of this
represents real progress in converting the reservations to their
ultimate purpose - that of serving the people.� This year became a
model for Cleveland Metroparks working to anticipate the needs of
By 1950, the Park District held title to 13,000 acres and land
acquisition slowed. Construction was started on dozens of new
projects to meet increasing demands for recreational
Now, Cleveland Metroparks owns 16 reservations and eight golf
courses, over 100 miles of parkways and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
Its goal is to enhance people's lives with outdoor education and
Since Cleveland Metroparks first began, a primary goal has been
educating and cultivating curiosity in youth. Focusing on young
children and getting them outside and involved started as early as
1929 in the parks. Then, youth groups like Girls Scouts, the
Kiwanis Club and the Y.M.C.A. held outdoor and overnight camps in
the parks through permits. These camps and groups did such work as
tracking constellations and learning about native wildlife and
In the earlier years, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History
collaborated with Cleveland Metroparks to supply a naturalist,
Arthur Williams. By 1931, the first trailside museum was opened.
Thousands of children visited the center, meeting the museum's
�pets� and taking part in outdoor discussions and lectures. In
1951, Harold Wallin succeeded Arthur Williams and Cleveland
Metroparks Outdoor Education Division officially began.
Now, Cleveland Metroparks features four nature centers
(Brecksville, Garfield Park, North Chagrin and Rocky River);
CanalWay Visitor Center; Look About Lodge; three EarthWords Nature
Shops; many traveling historical and environmental programs; and
NatureTracks and Eco-Explorer - mobile education units that take
nature programs to the community. The nature centers have programs,
like hikes, walks and other events, as well as annual events like
Bug City, Nature at Night and Fallfest: 18th Century
The commitment to recreation has been a focal point to Cleveland
Metroparks vision. The �80s brought construction of new all purpose
and physical fitness trails, shelterhouses, picnic areas and new
golfing opportunities. Cleveland Metroparks hosts many recreational
programs from golfing at eight courses, to the new mountain bike
trail in Mill Stream Run Reservation, to four swimming areas and
fishing in a number of places.
Ninety-five years after Stinchcomb envisioned his plan,
Cleveland Metroparks has evolved and transcended anything he could
have ever dreamed, with over 100 miles of parkways providing
driving pleasure and easy access to Cleveland Metroparks facilities
and areas, including: picnic areas and playfields; wildlife and
waterfowl management areas; hiking, bridle, mountain bike, physical
fitness, and all purpose trails; swimming, boating and fishing
areas; sledding, skating, and cross-country skiing areas; six
outdoor education facilities; eight golf courses and three driving
ranges; twin ice toboggan chutes; a variety of affiliate
organizations; and the Zoo.
See more of the Park District and enjoy it with a list of 95
things to do in Cleveland Metroparks available at
Celebrate 95 years of conservation, education and recreation in
at least 95 ways with Cleveland Metroparks - part of your