Summit Metro Parks

canoes at sunset

The rhythms of nature continue despite the disruptions the pandemic has caused our lives.

In southern Summit County, the season’s change is marked by a dazzling display of migrating birds. Each night bird watchers flock to witness the mass gathering of purple martins on Nimisila Reservoir.

It’s early September, a warm evening just before sunset. Dozens of bird watchers gather on shore, poised with spotting scopes and binoculars. But the best viewing is out on the water.

photo of a rare tropical bird known as brown booby at Nimisila Reservoir

A tropical bird has taken up residence in Northeast Ohio.

The local appearance of the normally sea-going brown booby has created quite a stir among birders.

It’s the first time the Caribbean native has been seen in Ohio.

Summit County Metro Parks naturalist Janean Kazimir spots the bird on a dead tree limb along the shore of  Nimisila Reservoir just south of Akron.

Cuyahoga River in Cascade Park

Summit Metro Parks will use a $2.5 million dollar grant to continue one of its largest ecological restorations.

The project involves a 1-mile stretch of the Cuyahoga River and adjacent flood plain in the Valley View Area of Cascade Valley Metro Park in Akron.

Summit Metro Parks Chief of Conservation Mike Johnson said the project will include a larger parking lot and additional river access.


Here are your morning headlines for Friday, June 5:

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, April 29:


  • Stark Parks levy approved;
  • School levies for Stark, Summit and Cuyahoga counties;
  • Cuyahoga County health and human services levy passes;
  • Summit County Metro Parks levy gains support;
  • Biden is the winner in Ohio's primary;
  • Notable Congressional seat races;


Summit County Voters Approve Metro Parks Levy

Apr 29, 2020
a photo of Springfield Bog Metro Park

Summit County voters resoundingly approved a 2-mill levy for Summit Metro Parks.

The tax is a renewal and an increase. Homeowners currently pay $3.47 per month for a home valued at $100,000. This levy will raise that rate by $1.58 per month.

Summit Metro Parks spokeswoman Stephanie Walton said the funding this levy provides is essential for them to continue operating.

photo of Cuyahoga Falls parks

The Cuyahoga Falls Parks & Recreation Department is putting together a Continuous Improvement Plan for the first time in 20 years. And officials are asking for input from residents – and from people in neighboring communities.

a photo of the Freedom Trail

Voters in Summit County will decide in March whether to increase funding for Summit Metro Parks. The Park District is seeking renewal of a 1.46 mill levy that is currently on the books and adding .54 mills for a total levy of two-mills. The additional millage would cost the average homeowner an extra $1.58 per month.

Metro Parks spokesperson Stephanie Walton said the proposed levy will bring in another $6 million dollars to the parks each year.

photo of classroom desks

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Nov. 14:

New Bird Species Spotted in Northeast Ohio

Jul 31, 2019
An unknown species of Ohio bird rests on the hand of a person in the Summit Metro Parks.

A new hybrid bird species has been spotted around parks in northeast Ohio.

The bird is a type of warbler resulting from mating between Cerulean Warblers and Northern Parulas.

Park Ranger Ryan Trimbath was the first to spot the bird in 2014 while he was working for the Summit Metro Parks in Deep Lock Quarry.

He says the experience has opened his mind to when people claim to see new species.

a photo of newlyweds

Couples in the Akron-area can have a June wedding or vow renewal for free in a local park. Summit County Probate Court will be hosting a group outdoor wedding on June 28th at Goodyear Heights Metro Park. Summit County Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer will be overseeing the event called Promises in the Park.

Freedom Trail Faces Crossings in Downtown Akron

May 19, 2019
a photo of the Freedom Trail

A property dispute is forcing Summit Metroparks to rethink the path of the Freedom Trail through downtown Akron. The park system had planned to locate a portion of the trail near CSX railroad tracks at East Market Street and College Avenue. It thought the land was owned by a public transit agency. Before the final construction began, CSX claimed the land was owned by them and for safety reasons, it will not allow a trail near the tracks.

photo of Smokey the Bear

Northeast Ohio has not one, not two, but three park systems that comprise about 70,000 acres of land – and almost 10 times that is protected throughout the state.

Listeners have asked our "OH Really?" project how these parks got started. WKSU’s Sarah Taylor and Kabir Bhatia answer some of their questions.

A photo of Summit Lake

Akron residents will be able to explore their community in a new way soon with the creation of a nature center near Summit Lake. 

The old Summit Lake Pump House off Lake Shore Boulevard served the area for decades, filtering water into Akron’s many factories and homes until the lake was found to be polluted and the house shut down.

Now, the house is being transformed into an educational and recreational nature center. It’ll feature outdoor programming such as kayaking and fishing, as well as after-school activities and educational events.

Photo of Summit Metro Parks
Summit Metro Parks

Summit Metro Parks will use money from a recent grant to improve water quality for a section of the Cuyahoga River in its newly acquired Valley View property.

The $370,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Great Lakes Commission will also help to restore flood plains in the area.

Metro Parks Chief of Conservation Mike Johnson said this is a major step towards making the water more accessible for visitors.


The U.S. EPA is moving ahead with the next phase of removing the largest remaining dam on the Cuyahoga River. Federal, state, and local agencies are paving the way for the most complicated part of the process.

The massive dam – part of a former hydroelectric generator – holds 832,000 cubic feet of contaminated sediment behind it.

And all that muck need to be moved before the concrete dam comes down.


Editor's Note:  This story was originally published on June 26, 2017.

Ohio has been lucky. 

A disease that’s common on the East Coast hadn’t made its way to the Buckeye State…until now.

Health experts say the ticks that carry Lyme disease have arrived.

In this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair explores what to watch for when walking in tick country.

Summit Metro Parks

The Summit Metro Parks will again be filled with music this summer, as its ensemble returns for its 18th year. 

The Metro Parks Ensemble is made up of 34 of the hardest working musicians in the region. And they’re all volunteers, some in their 80’s. Director Karen Bennett of Munroe Falls says it's all for the love of the parks and the camaraderie.  


Summit Metro Parks is moving forward with the next step in the process to remove the largest remaining dam on the Cuyahoga River.

The 60-foot-tall Gorge Dam in Cuyahoga Falls once powered trolley cars in Akron.

The park’s head of natural resources management, Mike Johnson, says the $70,000 hydrology study will model the effect of a free-flowing river.

photo of pump house

Summit Metro Parks is getting $785,000 to connect with the community at two of its parks near downtown Akron.

The money from the Knight Foundation will be used to re-purpose the pump house at Summit Lake and a barn in Cascade Valley Metro Park. Both sites will offer community programs, meeting spaces and activities.

Metro Parks Executive Director Lisa King says the goal is to build relationships with the community. 

Summit Metro Parks to Recycle Used Christmas Trees

Dec 26, 2017
Photo of Summit Metro Parks
Summit Metro Parks

Summit Metro Parks is holding its annual drop-off locations for used Christmas trees.

Lindsay Smith is the marketing coordinator for Metro Parks. She says the trees are used to beautify its parks.

Residents can give their trees a second life beyond Christmas and the Metro Parks can use this wood to chip into mulch, and our crew use it around our trailheads to use as landscaping compost.

Smith says they usually get over 100 yards of mulch from the donations.

Metro parks began the Christmas tree recycling program in 1970.

photo of downtown Cleveland

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, November 21st:

photo of Ben Mehendale, Ben Wells

Summit MetroParks welcomed more than 500 volunteers over the weekend, where they took the first steps toward re-foresting an old golf course in Akron.

Photo of Gov. Kasich preparing to sign Judy's Law

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, September 8:


Summit Metro Parks is experimenting with a new way to teach people about nature.

The district is opening a temporary nature center this week at Summit Lake’s community center in central Akron.

Metroparks’ outreach manager Demetrius Lambert-Falconer says it’s part of an effort to improve the lives of people living near Summit Lake.