Celebrate 95 Years Of Conservation, Education And Recreation With Cleveland Metroparks
CLEVELAND, July 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — 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 of multitudes.”
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 9 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 visitors.
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 opportunities.
Now, Cleveland Metroparks owns 16 reservations and 8 golf courses, over 100 miles of parkways and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Its goal is to enhance people’s lives with outdoor education and recreation.
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 plants.
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: 18(th) Century Festival.
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 8 courses, to the new mountain bike trail in Mill Stream Run Reservation, to four swimming areas and fishing in a number of places.
95 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; 6 outdoor education facilities; 8 golf courses and 3 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 clevelandmetroparks.com
Celebrate 95 years of conservation, education and recreation in at least 95 ways with Cleveland Metroparks – part of your life, naturally.
This information is available on Cleveland Metroparks website: www.clevelandmetroparks.com.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: BOB ROTATORI - 216-635-3263- or - ALYSSA COOK-ALEXANDER - 216-635- 3274
SOURCE Cleveland Metroparks