For Immediate Release
March 18, 2021

Friends of the Parks Provides Rangers with Ice Rescue Equipment

Medina County Park District park rangers will be equipped with state-of-the-art ice rescue gear, thanks to a $2,500 grant from Friends of Medina County Parks.

The dramatic rescue of a fisherman who fell through the ice at River Styx Park in February brought home the need for park rangers to have access to specialized ice-rescue training and tools. Park rangers remind visitors that no ice is safe ice.

“Medina County Park District has bodies of water at almost every park open to the public,” said Chief Ranger David Swinehart, who submitted the funding request. “As cold weather arrives each year, park visitors venture onto the ice for various winter recreational activities. When minutes count during a rescue operation, we want to make sure a victim has the best chance of survival.”

The new equipment includes: insulated ice rescue suits, floating rescue rope, rope throw bags, and more. Park rangers are fully commissioned law officers who often assist other local law-enforcement agencies. The ice rescue equipment will be carried in park ranger cruisers, where it’s available when rangers are called out to emergencies.

In addition to the gear, park rangers completed an intensive two-day training in ice rescue for local first-responders conducted last month by the Medina County All-Hazards Team and the Medina County Emergency Management Agency. The training included several hours of in-water experience at a pond with holes cut into the ice, where participants practiced self-rescue and victim-rescue techniques.

Friends of Medina County Parks is a non-profit 501(c)3 organizationdedicated to supporting the mission of the park district. The group receives its funding through annual memberships, financial donations, and fundraisers. Friends of the Parks assists the park district in everything from land acquisition and construction projects to events such as the Medina County Earth Day Festival. Membership is open to all.

“We’re proud to support the park district in a variety of ways, but nothing is more important than the safety of park visitors -- and the safety of our first-responders,” said Friends President James Moore. “We hope this ice rescue equipment never needs to be used, but if it does, it’s good to know park district rangers have the tools they need in a critical situation.”

For Immediate Release
March 16, 2021

Chippewa Yacht Club to Offer Public Programs through MCPD

A new lease agreement gives the Chippewa Yacht Club a long-term home on the shores of Ohio’s largest inland natural lake and provides future watercraft education opportunities for Medina County Park District visitors.

The organization has been a fixture at Chippewa Lake since the sailing club’s founding in 1939. Its clubhouse and lakefront were part of Medina County Park District’s purchase of the former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park landholdings in 2020. The yacht club had been on a year-to-year contract with the previous property owners.

For the park district, the 20-year agreement is a way to give the club the long-term security it needs to make improvements to its clubhouse and three acres of grounds. The lease was approved in February by Medina County Common Pleas Court Probate Judge Kevin W. Dunn.

“Chippewa Yacht Club’s presence at Chippewa Lake is important,” said park district Director Nathan Eppink. “The club is a valued partner and has a decades-long connection to this community. Like Medina County Park District, Chippewa Yacht Club and its members want to invest in Chippewa Lake.”

The club’s ties to Chippewa Lake Amusement Park go back to former long-time owner Parker Beach, whose vision for the yacht club was “. . . to promote sailboating and good fellowship and to take advantage of opportunities that Chippewa Lake offers . . . ” Beach also thought amusement park visitors would enjoy the sight of sailboats on the picturesque lake.

It’s a view visitors to the 300-plus acre glacial lake can still see today. Chippewa Yacht Club hosts competitive and recreational sailing events for members from April through October. The club remains private, but as part of the lease agreement, it will coordinate with the park district’s Interpretive Services Department to offer public programs.

"The Chippewa Yacht Club is very excited to be offering a boaters education program this summer in concert with the Medina County Park District,” said Doug Hurst, commodore and chief executive officer of the Chippewa Yacht Club. “Initially, the program will be geared toward middle-school-aged youth. The kids will have the opportunity to complete the Ohio Boaters Education Course and take the helm of small power boats, kayaks, canoes, and sailboats. We are grateful to the MCPD for allowing us to bring this program to the public and look forward to introducing safe boating to the community."

Park district Interpretive Services Manager Shelley Tender echoes that enthusiasm. “The yacht club members are eager to share their boating expertise with the public, and we are excited to help them engage the community in quality boater education and safety programs,” Tender said. “Classes offered through the yacht club will be included in the park district’s program listing on our website. Planning for this year is underway. Stay tuned!”

Medina County Park District purchased Chippewa Lake in 2007 with a grant from Clean Ohio and is developing a master plan to transform the recently acquired 95-acre former amusement park property into a public park. The project will include wetland restoration to help protect the lake’s water quality, as well as preservation of remnants of the historic amusement park, which operated from 1878-1978. Site work may begin this year, supported by a grant from H2Ohio and funding from the state’s 2021-22 capital budget.


For Immediate Release
February 18, 2021

Westfield Donates AED to Medina County Park District
Medina County Park District will have a powerful life-saving tool at one of its most popular destinations, thanks to Westfield Insurance.
The Westfield Center-based company has donated an automated external defibrillator that will be placed at Wolf Creek Environmental Center in Sharon Township. It’s the park district’s largest nature center, attracting thousands of visitors in a typical year.
Found in many workplaces and public buildings, AEDs are medical devices used to help a person experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.
“Response time in a cardiac incident is crucial,” said Medina County Park District Chief Ranger David Swinehart. “The faster it is, the better the chance of saving someone’s life. Having AEDs improves response time dramatically.”
An AED has electrode pads that analyze heart rhythm when placed on an individual’s chest. If necessary, the device delivers an electrical shock to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm. According to the American Red Cross, sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Each minute defibrillation is delayed, the odds of survival are reduced by approximately 10 percent.
Rangers carry portable AEDs in park district cruisers and earn certification in CPR, AED use, and first aid on a biennial basis. Swinehart is working on a plan to place AEDs -- which cost $1,400 to $1,800 each -- at additional park district locations. The donation from Westfield Insurance accelerates that process and provides an immediate benefit to the public.
Westfield Insurance is no stranger to Medina County Park District. In a normal year, company volunteers can be found planting trees, improving trails, and making other hands-on contributions that enhance the experience of park visitors. In 2020, when COVID-19 put a pause on group volunteer projects, Westfield Insurance Foundation donated $3,500 to the park district for “missed volunteer opportunities” during the pandemic. The gift will help fund future tree plantings in the parks.
“When the unexpected happens for our customers, Westfield is there,” said Jani Groza, Westfield’s Corporate Responsibility & Diversity Officer. “We are happy to provide this vital medical equipment; it makes the parks safer if the ‘unexpected’ happens when our neighbors are enjoying Medina County parks.”

For Immediate Release (by ODNR)
January 20, 2021

H2Ohio Project to Transform Site of Former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park Into Wetland, Public Park

COLUMBUS, OHIO - As part of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine's H2Ohio initiative [1], the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced today that it will partner with the Medina County Park District to help eliminate toxic algal blooms in Chippewa Lake, Ohio'slargest glacial lake.

"Through this new partnership, the Chippewa Lake Wetland Restoration Project will restore more than 20 acres of wetlands in Medina County, including the site of the former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park," said Governor DeWine. "This property will be transformed into a public park and functioning wetland that will capture nutrients that, otherwise, feed algal blooms in Chippewa Lake."

The project, which spans three sites in Lafayette and Westfield Townships, will be funded through the H2Ohio initiative and led by the park district.

"Collaborations like the one we now have with the Medina County Park District are a key part of what is making H2Ohio a success," ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. "The support and assistance of our partners allow us to extend the momentum of H2Ohio and strengthen its impact across the state."

"Chippewa Lake Amusement Park once attracted visitors from far and wide to the shores of Ohio's largest natural inland lake, and we are excited that this site will, once again, be an area for public recreation when it is reborn as a conservation-focused public park," Medina County Park District Board of Commissioners member Andrew J. de Luna said. "There is a lot of work ahead, but this funding from H2Ohio dramatically accelerates the timeline for making it happen."

The project will focus on diverting water from the Chippewa inlet into more than half a mile of newly restored stream channel to reduce nutrients flowing into the lake, including more than twenty acres of restored wetlands, and will add two acres of restored wetlands geared toward public outreach and educational opportunities for visitors to learn the benefits of these projects.

"Our H2Ohio project will not only benefit Medina County, but also everyone who lives downstream," said Medina County Park District Director Nathan D. Eppink. "The return on this significant investment
by H2Ohio will be exponential."The Chippewa Lake Wetland Restoration Project is expected to cost $1.52 million. It is expected to be complete in December 2023.

This project joins dozens of other H2Ohio wetland projects underway right now including the Redhorse Bend Preserve in Sandusky County, the Forder Bridge Project in Paulding County, the Fruth Wetland Nature Preserve in Seneca County, the St. Joseph Confluence Reconnection and the St. Joseph River Floodplain Restoration in Williams County, the Van Order Wetland and Forest Restoration in Henry County, the wetland area east of the Andreoff Wildlife Area in Wyandot County, Sandusky Headwaters Preserve in Crawford County, and the Oakwoods Nature Preserve in Hancock County.

Launched by Governor Mike DeWine in 2019, H2Ohio is a collaborative water-quality effort to provide clean and safe water to Ohio. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency each has a significant role in H2Ohio through the natural infrastructure of wetlands, the reduction in nutrient runoff, and increasing access to clean drinking water and quality sewer systems. To learn more, visit [2].

The Medina County Park District, established in 1965, connects people with nature through education and conservation, managing more than 7,500 acres that include 18 parks and preserves, almost 50 trails, Susan Hambley Nature Center, and Wolf Creek Environmental Center.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at


Stephanie O'Grady, ODNR Office of Communications

Copyright © 2021 Ohio Department of Natural Resources, All rights





For Immediate Release
December 30, 2020

State Capital Budget to Help Fund Local Projects

More than $1 million in funding from the State of Ohio’s 2021-22 capital budget will provide a major shot in the arm for two Medina County landmarks.

Medina County Park District has received $750,000 to assist with the purchase of the former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park – a 95-acre historic site acquired by the park district on June 15 for $2.1 million. A Northeast Ohio cultural icon, the amusement park operated from 1878 to 1978 on the shores of Ohio’s largest natural inland lake. The more than 300-acre Chippewa Lake was acquired by the park district with a Clean Ohio Grant in 2007.

Over the next two years, the park district will develop a master plan for the property, which will include reforestation, restoration of wetlands to improve lake water quality, as well as preservation of the remnants of the amusement park’s Ferris wheel, roller coaster track, and other relics.

The second landmark to benefit from capital budget funding is the bank barn located adjacent to U.S. Route 42 at Medina County Park District’s Chippewa Inlet North, part of Buckeye Woods Park. Built in the early 1800s, the picturesque wooden barn is a favorite subject of local photographers.

Lafayette Township Trustee Lynda Bowers submitted the funding request on behalf of the township, which will receive $300,000 to restore and preserve the barn. Of Ohio’s 1,308 townships, Lafayette was one of only 17 to receive capital budget funding.

“I have had numerous residents who walk in that park all the time say to me: ‘Anything we can do to save that barn?’ ” Bowers said. The barn was formerly part of the Medina County Home farm.

The project -- a collaborative effort between the township and the park district -- will include a new roof and siding, landscaping, plus a cantilevered picnic shelter on one side of the barn where there once was a lean-to. The open-air shelter will provide a public space for visitors to relax, rejuvenate, and enjoy the view.

“In 2020, public health has been front and center,” said park district Director Nathan D. Eppink. “This funding will benefit the physical and mental health of Medina County residents for generations to come.”

The biennial state capital budget, enacted in each even-numbered year, provides support for construction and renovation projects to benefit the public.

“These projects will improve the quality of life in our area," said Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina), who co-sponsored the capital budget. "I am glad we were able to secure this crucial funding for Medina County.”

Celebrating its 55th year, Medina County Park District connects people with nature through education and conservation, managing more than 7,500 acres that include 18 parks and preserves, almost 50 trails, Susan Hambley Nature Center, and Wolf Creek Environmental Center.