A hundred years later, the Metroparks remains a Cleveland gem

The Cleveland Metroparks is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Most Northeast Ohioans have benefited from this great institution, which chief architect William Stinchcomb had founded. Much of his vision has been completed and is dubbed the “Emerald Necklace.” The 100-year journey along the trails and interconnected parklands has been focused on conservation, education, and recreation.

The Metroparks is now led by CEO Brian M. Zimmerman. He and his team are pivoting to the next 100 years, filling in the visual gaps in the necklace of interconnected green land envisioned by Stinchcomb in 1917. Cleveland is a more vibrant, attractive, livable, and green community as a result of all that goes into the Metroparks.

The park system employees 900 full-time and 1,500 seasonal workers. This world-class gem of 18 interconnected park reservations, trails, watersheds, rivers and beaches, a zoo, golf courses, and tobogganing at the Chalet recreation area are world class. On any given day, fishing, kayaking, multi-purpose trails, polo fields, and special horse-jumping arenas, programming, and partnerships that are award winning and life giving are occurring and being utilized. The Metroparks is a crown jewel of our region, covering more than 23,000 acres of green land.

Conservation, Education, and Recreation

The park system celebrates the past and looks to its future. It was founded and continues on the three themes of conservation, education, and recreation.  The park’s existence contributes to economic and environmental impact not only locally but also globally.  The Cleveland Zoo plays a major positive role for impact on wildlife and global conservation. The local beaches and the role that the Metroparks plays in their restoration of our greatest natural asset, Lake Erie, is to be celebrated.

All residents have personal stories and memories of their personal use of parks, be it memories of day camp, zoo trips or family visits. My personal boyhood favorites were visits to Euclid Creek and North Chagrin Reservation and its duck pond and Squires Castle. Today it is trail running along the scenic River Road in Moreland Hills by the Polo Fields.

As the Metroparks enters its 100th year, the leadership under Zimmerman’s stewardship looks to the next 100 years with its 20/20 plan. There are five strategic goals of the 20/20 Emerald Necklace Centennial Plan:

  • Protection of the parks and its 300 miles of trails.
  • Relevancy: Helping the parks to remain relevant  economic drivers, empowering the regions with almost 1 billion dollars of  economic benefits annually.
  • Connections: Continued expansions of various trails and lakefront reclamation. Property values near the parks continued to be enriched. The parks are working to provide access to densely populated and underserved neighborhoods.
  • Come out and play: There are more than 19,000 programs, education, and adventures each year, providing  great memories in our parks.
  • Organizational stability: Continued leadership and vision.

Come out and play and enjoy one of the amazing Metroparks sites near you! Happy 100th birthday, Metroparks!