100 Years of Mystical Metroparks

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The Cleveland Metroparks are celebrating their 100th Anniversary this year.  Most Northeast Ohioans have benefited from this great institution. Founded by the initial visions and idea of chief architect, William Stinchcomb. Much of his vision has been completed and is dubbed the “Emerald Necklace”.  The 100 year journey along the trails and interconnected parklands have been focused on conservation, education and recreation.

The Metroparks now in its centennial year is led by Brian M. Zimmerman, CEO as he and his Team pivots to the next 100 years filling in the visual gap in the necklace of interconnected green land envisioned by William 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 1500 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 are a crown jewel of our Region covering over 23, 000 Acres of green land.

Toboggan Chute at Chalet Winter 2016

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 conservations education and recreations.  The parks existence contributes to Economic and environmental impact not only locally, but globally as well.  The Cleveland Zoo plays has a major positive role for impact on wildlife and global conservation. The Metroparks and beaches that border the lakes edges and the part it plays in their restoration of our greatest natural asset, Lake Erie is to be celebrated. 

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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.

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As the parks enter its 100th year the leadership under Brian Zimmerman’s stewardship looks to the next 100 years with its 20/20 plan

There are 5 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 over 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 our amazing Metroparks near you! Happy 100th Birthday Metroparks!

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Northeast Ohio Bucket List

Kevin Goodman is the managing director, partner with BlueBridge Networks, a downtown Cleveland-based data-center and cloud computing business. He can be reached at (216)367-7580 kjg@bbnllc.com.