For Immediate Release
July 24, 2020

Lake Medina’s Granger Road Parking Lot to Close for Construction

Improvements are scheduled to begin this summer at Medina County Park District’s Lake Medina, including paving its Granger Road parking lot and increasing parking capacity to 41 spaces. In addition, the lower trail will be upgraded to an asphalt surface.

In order for this work to take place, the Granger Road entrance to Lake Medina will close on July 30 and remain closed until mid- to late fall. To access Lake Medina, please use the parking lot off state Route 18 near Signature Square Plaza.

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.

For Immediate Release
June 11, 2020

Natural Discoveries Hiking Series Retooled for Summer

The 2020 Natural Discoveries Hiking Series is back.

After a three-month COVID-19 hiatus, the popular award-based Medina County Park District hiking series has been retooled to offer self-guided interpretive hikes that enable visitors to experience nature while observing social-distancing guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health. The program is free and open to ages seven to adult.

Participants who complete five designated Natural Discoveries hikes in 2020 earn a special award patch. Those who finish ten hikes receive a hiking stick (one time only). Natural Discoveries hikes completed in January, February, and March count toward the total, too.

To participate, visit to download an updated form that lists Natural Discoveries hiking opportunities through the end of the year. From June 20 through August 30, visitors will find Programs-on-a-Post at each scheduled hike location. Programs-on-a-Post is a series of informational signs on a nature topic placed along the trail. A code word will be listed on one of the signs. For the hike to count toward an award, write the code word on the form where the hike leader typically would initial to confirm attendance.

Hikers will explore the hidden world of lichen at Princess Ledges Nature Preserve, learn about butterflies at Medina Marsh, cool off with a water walk in Gray’s Creek at Letha House Park East, and more. Each of the Programs-on-a-Post will be available for at least one week.

If social-distancing guidelines permit, it’s possible naturalist-led hikes could return this fall. Please watch for updates. Awards may be claimed when Natural Discoveries group hikes resume.

For park locations and information, please visit

For Immediate Release
June 1, 2020

Are You Ready for the Celebrating 55 Challenge?

How well do you know the parks, preserves, and trails of Medina County Park District? Find out and score a free T-shirt (sponsored by Friends of Medina County Parks) when you complete the Celebrating 55 Challenge beginning June 1.

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the founding of the park district in 1965. Unfortunately, most of the commemorative programs and events scheduled for 2020 have been placed on hold, but visitors are still invited to help celebrate this milestone by searching for facts about nature and MCPD parks.

Just visit to download a Celebrating 55 Challenge form. In it, you’ll find a series of questions like: “How many wooden foot bridges are on the yellow trail at Schleman Nature Preserve?” and “Find the ‘Hop Like a Bunny’ feature along the paved trail at Allardale. According to the sign, how fast can a bunny run?”

Simply visit the parks and MCPD website to find the answers, complete the Celebrating 55 Challenge form, and follow instructions for returning it to the park district. If you can accomplish your mission by September 1, you’ll receive a special-edition T-shirt to commemorate the park district’s anniversary year.

“The park district was brought into being by dedicated residents who believed that the opportunity to experience nature is fundamental to the quality of life in Medina County,” said Interpretive Services Manager Shelley Tender. “There’s no better way to celebrate that legacy than by getting outside and discovering things we didn’t know about the parks, nature, and ourselves.”