For Immediate Release
October 15, 2020

Redesigned Entrance Ready to Greet Visitors to Lake Medina

Lake Medina’s Granger Road entrance has reopened following a nearly two-and-a-half month project that significantly improves visitor access to the 103-acre former reservoir and walking trails along the West Branch of the Rocky River.

“If you haven’t seen it yet, you won’t recognize it,” said Medina County Park District Director Nathan Eppink. “It’s a complete transformation that makes this park much more user-friendly.”

The project included replacement of a small gravel parking area with a 40-space asphalt lot, plus a roundabout and sidewalk. A box culvert under the entrance drive, combined with two detention basins, will help manage stormwater. An approximately 0.46-mile formerly natural-surface connector trail to the park’s Lower Trail has been paved, along with another short connector at the State Route 18 entrance on the other side of the park. Tree plantings will be added in the next few weeks.

In partnership with a neighboring property owner, vegetation was cleared along Granger Road, making the park entrance more visible. A sign identifying the park will be placed at the entrance in the coming months.

Almost half the funding for the $313,000 project was provided by a $150,000 reimbursable grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Recreational Trails Program. The project was completed by Marks Construction of Valley City.

Lake Medina served as Medina’s municipal water source from the early 1960s until 2002, when the 197-acre site was leased to the park district. The park features a 1.1-mile natural-surface Upper Trail along the lake and a 1.35-mile asphalt Lower Trail that follows the West Branch of the Rocky River and connects to the city of Medina’s multipurpose trail along Reagan Parkway. Located on Ohio’s Buckeye Trail, Lake Medina is popular for hiking, fishing, biking, kayaking, and cross-country skiing.

“The city of Medina is appreciative and thankful for the Medina County Park District’s capital investment of a new Granger Road entrance and improved parking for Lake Medina,” said Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell. “Lake Medina is a treasured asset in our community and frequently visited by those in our city, county, and region. This is another positive collaboration between the city of Medina and the Medina County Park District.”

For Immediate Release
October 14, 2020

Park Board Meeting

Medina County Park District Board of Commissioners will meet in regular session on Wednesday, October 21, at 8:30 a.m. at Wolf Creek Environmental Center located at 6100 Ridge Road in Sharon Center. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, as permitted by Ohio House Bill 197, and in keeping public and employee health and safety as a priority, this meeting will be live-streamed on Facebook at

Public comments or questions can be sent in advance to Director Nathan Eppink at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Emails must be received by Tuesday, October 20, at 4 p.m. Live comments will not be addressed during the

For Immediate Release
October 8, 2020

Bluebell Valley Open to the Public

Just in time for visitors to experience the peak colors of fall, Medina County Park District has opened its newest natural area: Bluebell Valley in Harrisville Township located at 8500 Richman Road.

The 87-acre site is under the umbrella of Black River Nature Preserve, which includes Hidden Hollow Camp (open by reservation only) and the future East Fork area. Together, they protect more than 400 acres of woodlands, meadows, and streams in the headwaters region of Northeast Ohio’s Black River.

“If you’ve come to Hidden Hollow Camp for an event, you know how special this river corridor is,” said Medina County Park District Director Nathan Eppink. “Over the past several years, our natural resource team has carried out major restoration work designed to protect the water quality of the Black River and rebuild native habitats that attract the birds, butterflies, and wildlife visitors love to see. We're excited to finally open this nature preserve for public access. It’s the first of many more great things to come for this ecologically rich area of Medina County.”

Bluebell Valley includes a 0.5-mile compacted limestone trail (accessible for wheelchairs and strollers) and a 0.65-mile mowed, natural-surface trail. In terms of hiking difficulty, both are rated as easy, though footing on the natural-surface trail can be uneven. The trails loop around fields of warm-season prairie grasses that provide forage for pollinators and cover for migrating birds to rest and refuel. Visitors will encounter multiple habitats within a relatively short span, including woods, restored wetlands, and an overlook of the preserve’s namesake -- a floodplain carpeted in spring-blooming Virginia bluebell wildflowers along the West Fork of the East Branch of the Black River.

Nature preserves offer fewer amenities and activities than parks in order to minimize disruption to plants and wildlife. Phase One improvements at Bluebell Valley include the trails and a 20-space gravel parking lot. Phase Two, slated for 2021, will include a small picnic shelter and restroom. Leashed pets are welcome in nature preserves; however, bicycles are not permitted.

For details, download the Bluebell Valley trail guide at A virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place in the coming weeks. Follow Medina County Park District on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more.

Celebrating its 55th year, Medina County Park District connects people with nature through education and conservation, managing more than 7,200 acres that includes 18 parks and preserves, 40 miles of trails, Susan Hambley Nature Center, and Wolf Creek Environmental Center.

For Immediate Release
October 5, 2020

Wanted: Park Photos for Display

Typically, we look out a window to see nature. This December, Medina County Park District is inviting visitors to enjoy the beauty and diversity of the natural world by looking into the windows at Susan Hambley Nature Preserve in Brunswick.

This has been a year for the history books. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, parks have been safe destinations for recreation, socially distanced meetings, and outdoor learning, while people seek respite from self-isolation. To encourage a feeling of connection with nature and with others, the park district is offering visitors the opportunity to share their park experiences through photographs to be displayed in the windows of the nature center.

Here’s how to participate. Print an 8-by-10 inch photo taken in a Medina County Park District park or preserve. Complete an information label available under What’s New at and attach the label to the back of the photo. No watermarks or logos are permitted on the photos.

Submissions may be mailed to Medina County Park District Headquarters, 6364 Deerview Lane, Medina, OH 44256 or placed in a drop box at Wolf Creek Environmental Center, 6100 Ridge Road, Sharon Township. (Use Wadsworth when mapping directions online.) The Wolf Creek Environmental Center site (building remains closed due to COVID-19) is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

All ages are welcome to participate, but only one photo per person, please. This is not a contest, and no prizes will be awarded. Pictures will not be returned. The deadline to submit a photo is November 30.

While Brunswick Lake Park is open to visitors from 6 a.m. to dark, Susan Hambley Nature Center remains closed due to COVID-19. The gallery of submitted photos can be viewed by walking around the exterior of the building during park hours from December 5 through January 3. The nature center is located at 1473 Parschen Boulevard in Brunswick.

For Immediate Release
October 1, 2020

Is Creativity in Your Nature?

The new Monthly Makers program offers an opportunity to add a little personal creativity to the beauty of the fall season.

Participants are invited to create an art project -- solo or with their families -- on a different monthly theme and have the project displayed along a trail at Alderfer-Oenslager Wildlife Preserve, home of Wolf Creek Environmental Center. The program is free and open to all ages.

The October theme is scare-owls - – owl-themed scarecrows! Scarecrows should be three dimensional and made out of materials that are able to withstand being outdoors for at least two weeks. Each household will be limited to one 6-foot metal garden stake with which to attach their masterpiece.

Simply visit www.MedinaCountyParks and click on “Programs,” then “Program Listing” to register. Setup will occur between October 20 and 24. Registered individuals/households will be contacted with further details regarding set-up. Scare-owls will be on public display through November 7.

Mushroom art projects (September’s theme) is on public display through October 10.

Please note Wolf Creek Environmental Center has limited hours. The gate and grounds are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday.) A portable restroom is available in the parking lot. The building remains closed due to COVID-19.

For Immediate Release
August 14, 2020

New for Trekking Through Autumn: Hiker’s Choice

Definition: Trekking (noun) -- A form of walking, undertaken with the specific purpose of exploring and enjoying the scenery.

Call it hiking, walking, strolling, rambling, wandering, or trekking, it’s good for body, mind, and spirit -- maybe now more than ever.

Back for its 14th year, Medina County Park District’s popular self-guided hiking program, Trekking Through Autumn, offers the opportunity to explore and enjoy the beauty of fall on local trails. Those who complete at least eight designated hikes between September 1 and November 30 qualify for hiking rewards. The program is free and open to all ages.

To get started, simply print a Trekking Through Autumn brochure at It lists 14 selected trails in parks and preserves throughout Medina County for participants to hike on their own schedule. New this year is a Hiker’s Choice. So, if a favorite trail isn’t on the menu, the trekker can add it to the list.

After completing eight or more of the hikes, participants will receive an award. 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 backpacks and $3 for hiking pins.

Please note the building at Wolf Creek Environmental Center is currently closed until further notice, but the grounds are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Please check for changes to that schedule. As a wildlife sanctuary, no pets are permitted at Wolf Creek. Dogs on leashes are welcome at other park sites, which are open from 6 a.m. until dark.

“So much of everyday life seems to be on pause,” said park district Interpretive Services Manager Shelley Tender. “We can take solace in the fact that nature’s seasonal wonders continue and beckon us to get outside and enjoy the colors and cooler temperatures of fall.”

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2020

A Once and Future Park

Park District Completes Purchase of Former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park

In a milestone on a journey that began more than 40 years ago, Medina County Park District has purchased the site of the former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park, which will become a future public park on the shores of Ohio’s largest inland glacial lake.

“We are thrilled that this special place, which is such an important part of the cultural history of Northeast Ohio and treasured in the memories of so many people, will be open for the public to enjoy once again,” said Medina County Park District Director Nathan D. Eppink.

Chippewa Lake Properties Inc. sold the just under 95-acre site to the park district on June 15 for $2.1 million, which was less than its appraised value. The purchase agreement includes all mineral rights and lake privileges associated with the property. The park district purchased the adjacent 340-acre Chippewa Lake with a Clean Ohio Grant in 2007.

Eppink said public access to the site is at least two years away. The park district will use that time to invite community input on a master plan and seek grant funding to support development of the park. Reforestation, along with restoration of wetlands, will begin as soon as possible to help improve the water quality of the lake, which has been plagued by toxic algal blooms.

“It’s good for our village,” said Joanne Dodaro, who has served as mayor of Chippewa Lake since 2003. “I like knowing that the amusement park property is owned by the park district and that it will help protect the lake.”

The park district will preserve the remnants of the Ferris wheel and other historical relics that remain on the property, which provide an opportunity for interpretive panels and programs that celebrate the site’s iconic past. As a destination for entertainment, family vacations, and company picnics from 1878 to 1978, Chippewa Lake Park once boasted multiple rides, games, a hotel, and a ballroom that hosted famous bandleaders like Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, and Lawrence Welk.

“We’re really excited to tell the story of the amusement park,” said Eppink. “We want to make it a fun place to be, like it once was.”

The property was identified in the early 1970s as one of the most important potential public recreation sites in Medina County. Its owners and the park district first talked about a possible sale shortly after the amusement park closed -- a discussion that had multiple stops and starts over the ensuing decades. Former park district Director Thomas K. James had his first conversation about the former amusement park almost immediately after his arrival in 1993, and talks continued for the next 25 years until his retirement in 2018.

“It’s been on the radar for a long time,” he said.

With extensive wetlands lining the less-developed west side of the lake, the former amusement park emerged as the best site for a possible public park after Chippewa Lake was acquired by the park district in 2007.

“Having a park on the east side of the lake with good access to the water for public recreation makes the most sense,” James added.

Medina County Park District Board of Commissioners Chairman Andrew J. de Luna expressed gratitude to the many community partners, as well as to past and present park district staff, whose work and perseverance made this long-anticipated day a reality.

“Their efforts will help ensure that Ohio’s largest glacial lake remains a place for outdoor recreation and nature education for generations to come,” de Luna said.