The end of another year is a good time to ponder the past and dream about the future. As Cleveland Metroparks historian, I spend a lot of time delving into the past, but the approach of a new year has me wondering what Cleveland Metroparks might look like in the next hundred years or so.
What will the future bring?
One of my visions is that a clean energy public transportation system would enable people to travel to and around the reservations on dedicated roadways or underground subways— unless hovercraft technology is a reality by then. Maybe naturalists will use 3-D holograms to teach about the life cycles of plants and animals, or to demonstrate complex ecological systems. Windmills and solar panels may produce our energy, or some other renewable energy source may be in use. I realize I am not very original in such predictions as they are ideas that have been around for a while. I have new respect for futuristic writers as I realize how hard it is to image some entirely new technology or society.
I do, however, feel safe predicting the following sights in Cleveland Metroparks during the next hundred years . .
I envision families sharing a picnic, people hiking the trails, children discovering the wonder of nature for the first time, cyclists wheeling through the reservations, kayakers paddling in the lakes and rivers, couples sharing a park bench and dreaming of their futures. . . .
Picnicking by the river-a timeless pastime.
In other words the best future would include the same activities that have always drawn visitors to our Emerald Necklace. If we traveled in our DeLorean time machine back to 1917 or forward to 2117 the ideal scenario would be for us to feel at home in either era since the landscape would look so familiar.
The men and women who created Cleveland Metroparks almost one hundred years ago not only looked into the future and saw a vast park system encircling the city, they planned and worked to make that future a reality for “generations to come.” Our job is to keep that vision a reality for the generations that follow us.
What do you think the future holds for Cleveland Metroparks? Let us know what you think. And, here’s hoping that a Happy New Year is in the future for you.
Meanwhile take a look at some “future” projects that were considered for the parks, but never made the leap from plans to reality, along with the plans for the Metropolitan Park System that started with a vision that became a wonderful reality for all of us.
Bradley Woods Reservation doesn't quite match these early plans
Plans for damming Tinker's Creek to create "Lake Shawnee" in the early 1960s were, thankfully, abandoned.
An idea for an administration building in Brecksville in 1973 was deemed too far away from downtown Cleveland
The original county boulevard and reservation idea. Far sighted visions and hard work turned these plans into a reality.