News Releases

For Immediate Release
December 8, 2017

Landscape Architect Richard Heaton to Retire from Medina County Park District

Most park visitors don’t pause to consider the arrangement of plantings or the way a building nestles neatly into the landscape. They may not notice how an entrance drive follows the contour of the land or think about the course of a trail through the woods. Instead, most simply get out of their cars and enjoy nature.

And that’s just the way the landscape architect likes it.

Richard E. Heaton is retiring in December as Medina County Park District’s landscape architect, a position he has held since 2000. It’s a job that requires a balance of artistic sensibility and technical knowledge. Landscape architects must know as much about oak trees as asphalt, as much about native plants as playground equipment. Their work plays a major role in shaping a visitor’s experience in the parks -- from designing amenities such as parking, shelters, and restrooms, to making meadows and woods and water and wildlife accessible to the public, all while protecting sensitive natural resources.

“The role of a landscape architect is like the frame on a beautiful painting,” Heaton said. “The frame should enhance the work of art but never distract from it. Similarly, the design of a park helps the beauty of nature shine through without ever getting in its way.”

Landscape architecture combines Heaton’s love of the outdoors with his interest in design. A graduate of Shaw High School in East Cleveland, Heaton holds a two-year degree from Cuyahoga Community College and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University. He is licensed by the State of Ohio. After graduating from LSU, Heaton worked in Houston, Cleveland, and Akron before joining the park district.

A dozen or more parks, trails, and preserves have opened in the park district during Heaton’s tenure and bear his design imprint. Among his favorite projects are the popular dog park at Carolyn Ludwig Mugrage Park, Wolf Creek Environmental Center, and Buffalo Creek Retreat.

According to Park District Director Thomas James, Heaton has provided a great contribution to the success of the park district over the years. “I often receive compliments about the layout of our parks and trails. Rich’s expertise at blending park visitors with nature has created parks that many people enjoy now and will enjoy in the future. We wish him well in his retirement,” James said.

In retirement, Heaton plans to travel, as well as tackle a few landscaping projects in his own backyard. He lives in Medina with his wife, Mickie. They have three adult children.

The public is invited to an open house honoring Heaton on his retirement. The event will take place noon to 2 p.m. , Friday, December 22 at park district headquarters, 6364 Deerview Lane in Lafayette Township.




For Immediate Release
November 28, 2017

Chippewa Reopened to the Public

Chippewa Lake has been reopened to the public. However, a public health advisory for pets and vulnerable persons to avoid water contact remains in place. Test results received November 28 from water samples collected November 21 show microcystin toxin levels have decreased to 8.42 parts per billion.
Per Ohio’s Harmful Algal Bloom Response Strategy for Recreational Waters, a Recreational Public Health Advisory is issued when toxin levels reach 6 ppb. It recommends children, pregnant or nursing women, individuals with certain medical conditions, and pets avoid contact with the water. When toxin levels reach 20 ppb, an Elevated Recreational Public Health Advisory is issued, warning all persons to avoid all contact with the water. Chippewa Lake was closed November 16 when toxin levels first exceeded 20 ppb.

Public health advisories remain in effect until two consecutive tests taken at least one week apart show levels have dropped below the thresholds outlined in the Harmful Algal Bloom Response Strategy for Recreational Waters. The Recreational Public Health Advisory will be lifted if next week’s test results show levels remain below 6 ppb.
The toxins are a result of algal blooms that occur in bodies of water due to a combination of factors including water temperature, rainfall, and nutrient runoff within the watershed. The Chippewa Lake algal bloom is the result of a microscopic organism called cyanobacteria. Its blooms can produce harmful toxins that may make people and pets sick when they come into contact with the water.

Medina County Park District will continue to monitor Chippewa Lake as needed. Samples collected by the park district’s natural resource staff are sent to Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District for testing. Results typically are reported back to the park district in three to five working days.
For more information about harmful algal blooms, please visit:

Sample Date       Results Received     Toxin Level         Action

6/8/17                 6/15/17                  11.06 ppb       Warning posted
6/15/17               6/19/17                  7.64 ppb
6/21/17               6/26/17                  5.10 ppb
6/27/17               6/29/17                  8.18 ppb
7/5/17                 7/7/17                   9.62 ppb
7/11/17               7/13/17                 10.75 ppb
7/18/17               7/21/17                 6.24 ppb
7/25/17               7/27/17                 6.07 ppb
8/1/17                 8/3/17                   6.18 ppb
8/8/17                 8/11/17                 10.50 ppb
8/15/17               8/17/17                 3.52 ppb
8/22/17               8/25/17                 5.05 ppb         Warning removed
9/5/17                 9/8/17                   20.02 ppb       Lake closed
9/12/17               9/14/17                 9.02 ppb
9/19/17               9/21/17                 22.3 ppb
9/26/17               9/28/17                 8.29 ppb        
10/3/17               10/5/17                 3.74 ppb         Lake reopens, warning remains
10/10/17             10/12/17               6.49 ppb         Warning remains in place
10/16/17             10/19/17               10.6 ppb
10/27/17             10/24/17               12.0 ppb
10/31/17             11/02/17               14.9 ppb
11/7/17               11/16/17               20.6 ppb
11/14/17             11/16/17               18.1 ppb         Lake closed
11/21/17             11/28/17               8.42 ppb         Lake reopens, warning remains



For Immediate Release
November 13, 2017

Putt-ing Through the Ages Returns this Winter

The only thing more fun than mini golf is mini golf with dinosaurs!

Putt-ing Through the Ages returns to Medina County Park District’s Buffalo Creek Retreat to warm up the winter months with a free family activity for all ages. It’s an indoor mini-golf adventure that takes players on a journey through Ohio’s geologic history.

The course will be open noon to 7 p.m. each day during school holiday break week, December 27-31. It will then be open weekends only from January 5 through February 25. Hours will be noon to 4 p.m. on Fridays, noon to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Created with the artistic and construction skills of park district staff and talented volunteers, the mini-golf course will explore the depths of the ancient ocean, wind through swamp forests, encounter massive ancient creatures, traverse a glacier, and introduce visitors to Ohio’s prehistoric people.

“It's indoors, it's free, it's fun for all ages -- and it’s educational, too,” said park district Naturalist Clair Bailey.

Buffalo Creek Retreat is located at 8708 Hubbard Valley Road in Guilford Township.

Medina County Park District offers a variety of programs to beat the winter blahs. Visit to learn more. Easily keep up with all the park district’s program offerings by following @MedinaCoParks on Twitter or by liking Friends of Medina County Parks on Facebook.



PRESS RELEASE                                                             
For Immediate Release
August 22, 2017

Trekking Through Autumn

Need a little incentive to get outside and enjoy the beauty of fall?

Sign up for Medina County Park District’s free self-guided hiking program Trekking Through Autumn, and earn awards for completing at least eight hikes between September 1 and November 30. It’s the perfect opportunity for families and individuals of all abilities to enjoy the crisp air and spectacular colors of the fall season. 

To participate, pick up a Trekking Through Autumn brochure at Medina County Park District Headquarters, Wolf Creek Environmental Center, or simply print one at Check trails off the list as you complete them. When you’ve hiked eight or more, bring the brochure to Wolf Creek Environmental Center by February 28 to claim your reward. Backpacks are awarded to first-year participants. Hiking pins are awarded in successive years. Awards are free for Medina County residents. Out-of-county residents pay $10 for the backpack and $2 for the hiking pin.

Trekking Through Autumn offers a choice of 16 different hiking trails in parks and nature preserves that show off the beauty and natural diversity of Medina County.

“We often hear from participants who say they never knew there were so many special places in Medina County,” said Interpretive Services Manager Shelley Tender. “Part of the fun of Trekking Through Autumn is the opportunity to revisit favorite parks and discover new ones.”

Hikers complete the walks at their own pace and on their own schedule. Medina County park sites are open from dawn until dark -- except Wolf Creek Environmental Center, which is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. As a wildlife sanctuary, no pets are permitted at Wolf Creek, but dogs on leashes are welcome at other park locations.

A new backpack or hiking pin isn’t the only reward in store. Walking a trail on a fall day is a great way to experience nature, spend time with friends and family, and get some outdoor exercise at a time when temperatures are at their most comfortable, and the season’s beauty is at its peak.

Post your hiking photos on Instagram or Twitter using the tag #trekkingthroughautumn, and we’ll share your picture with our followers on Medina County Park District social media.