PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
January 20, 2022

Park Board Meeting

Medina County Park District Board of Commissioners will meet in regular session on Thursday, January 27 at 8:30 a.m. at Park District Headquarters located at 6364 Deerview Lane in Medina. The public is welcome to attend. Masks are required regardless of vaccination status. If the public wishes to address the board but not attend in person, comments may be emailed to Director Nathan Eppink (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by Wednesday, January 26 at 4 p.m.


Press Release
For Immediate Release
December 16, 2021

Hidden Hollow Camp Won’t Be Hidden Anymore in 2022

Effective January 3, 2022, there are two major changes planned for Hidden Hollow Camp located in Black River Nature Preserve in Lodi. First, the site will be open to the public year-round unless the enclosed building on the property is reserved. Since Hidden Hollow Camp’s opening in 1984, it has not been open to walk-in visitors. Historically, the general public has only been able to utilize the site for day-use reservations or to attend naturalist-led programs. Second, the public will be able to reserve Hidden Hollow Camp for overnight camping. Reservations for day-use will only be allowed on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Camping will be permitted on Friday and Saturday nights only. This will allow the grounds to remain open to the public Mondays through Thursdays on a regular basis.  The site will also be open to the public if there are no weekend reservations.

Planning and Operations Manager Isaac Smith commented, “Opening Hidden Hollow Camp to the public on a regular basis will offer another park site in the Lodi area for hiking, bird-watching, or fishing in addition to neighboring Bluebell Valley which opened in 2020. We are also pleased to offer overnight camping to the general public as a new recreational opportunity – a first in the park district’s history.”  

The enclosed building at Hidden Hollow Camp offers the perfect amenities for an “indoor camping” experience for up to 75 people, including a wood-burning stove, scenic wraparound porch, movie screen, electric range, food preparation tables, and a refrigerator. Please note, this facility is one large room. There are no beds, bunks, or cots. Alcohol is permitted, inside the enclosed building only, when reserved for day-use or camping. Drinking water, restrooms, and a gray-water disposal pit are located outdoors. There’s also a large campfire ring and a team-building challenge course. Neither RVs nor travel trailers will be allowed. Tent camping is permissible in addition to the use of the enclosed facility. Only one reservation is permitted per day.

The grounds feature a beautiful one-acre woodland pond and two nature trails. In geographical terms, a “hollow” is exactly as it sounds – a small valley or basin in the land. At the bottom of Hidden Hollow is the West Fork of the East Branch of the Black River. The rich soil of its floodplain is home to towering sycamore, black willow, and black walnut trees -- along with a diverse array of wildflowers. The trees and thickets here provide ideal habitat for migrating warblers. Visitors should plan on bird-watching during spring and fall migration.

Improvements to the entry drive will be made next year to accommodate increased usage of the site on a daily basis. Reservations for camping will open starting on January 3, 2022.


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
December 13, 2021

District Rings in New Year by ‘Retiring’ Ranger Name

Effective January 1, 2022, Medina County Park District’s park rangers will be rebranded as police officers, a move to make clear their responsibilities.

Chief Dave Swinehart said the role of each officer will remain the same – ensuring the safety of visitors by patrolling park sites via foot, vehicle, watercraft, and bike; educating the public about park district resources and policies; and enforcing park district rules as well as state and federal laws.

Swinehart said he hopes the name change provides clarity to park users who may confuse rangers with non-law-enforcement personnel. Officer vehicles and uniform badges will receive new artwork to reflect the name change.

Medina County Park District also seeks to add a full-time police officer to its staff to replace an individual who retired this fall. A minimum of five years of law-enforcement experience is preferred. Park police officers are required to attend the Ohio Police Officer Basic Training Academy. Each year of service thereafter, officers receive additional Continuing Professional Training (CPT) hours set forth by the state. Visit medinacountyparks.com/about us/employment to download a law-enforcement employment packet.


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
November 18, 2021

H2Ohio Initiative Funds Restoration of New Nature Preserve in Litchfield Township

Medina County Park District (MCPD) was recently awarded $900,000 from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, as part of Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative, to restore 145 acres in Litchfield Township. The property is located in the Central Basin of Lake Erie with water flowing north to our Great Lake. Restoring the property will reduce nitrogen and phosphorous loading in the watershed which can contribute to harmful algal blooms -- an issue that has plagued Lake Erie in recent years. This project will also see the creation of more than 60 acres of wetlands and the introduction of native plants.

The park district plans to open this site as the Litchfield Wetlands Nature Preserve by the end of 2022. Director Eppink noted: “I'm looking forward to establishing a nature preserve in an area without a Medina County Park District presence. After chasing a number of funding opportunities to restore this property over the past decade, we are grateful to receive such significant support through the H2Ohio initiative.”

The land was purchased by MCPD in 2009 with Clean Ohio funding. (Clean Ohio grants are administered by the Ohio Public Works Commission.) There is currently no public access to the site as it has been farmed under an annual land management agreement to keep invasive plants from taking root. MCPD will budget $300,000 of its own dollars for public access improvements including parking, restrooms, and trail surfacing. Planning & Operations Manager Isaac Smith envisions more than 1.5 miles of trails for visitors to enjoy once the site is built.

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 h2.ohio.gov.

This is the second award the park district has received from the program. MCPD's first H2Ohio award was for $1.52 million to restore three sites near Chippewa Lake in Lafayette and Westfield townships. One of those sites, a 7.5-acre parcel along the Chippewa outlet located off Kennard Road, will be completed next year. The district will also add parking and a kayak launch at the site.