CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cleveland Metroparks recently added 52 acres critical to the protection of natural resources and to the development of future trail connections at West Creek Reservation.
The acquisition includes property in one of the few Cuyahoga County communities in which Cleveland Metroparks did not previously have a footprint.
“West Creek Reservation is one of our fastest-growing reservations, and we’re thrilled to add land in the City of Seven Hills to our Emerald Necklace,” said Brian M. Zimmerman, Cleveland Metroparks CEO.
The park now directly serves Parma, Independence and Seven Hills. Perhaps more importantly, the additional acreage provides opportunities for future connections between West Creek Reservation and the Hemlock Creek Trail in Independence, as well as the Towpath Trail, as Northeast Ohio’s trail network continues to grow.
The new property, acquired by West Creek Conservancy through a partnership with Cleveland Metroparks, was something of a logistical triumph, since it involved 20 separate parcels.
According to Derek Schafer, executive director of West Creek Conservancy, “Urban watersheds, such as West Creek, require unique tactics associated with land conservation, habitat restoration and, in many cases, reclaiming unsustainably developed land and puzzling back together otherwise fragmented greenspace.”
The acquisition will help protect forests and streams northwest and southeast of the current boundaries of West Creek Reservation.
The popular urban reservation has grown by about one-third in the past decade, thanks to thriving partnerships among Cleveland Metroparks, West Creek Conservancy and the City of Parma.
Cleveland Metroparks added acreage to several reservations this year. Bedford Reservation expanded by more than 87 acres, Brecksville grew by approximately 75 acres and Hinckley and Mill Stream Run each added around 25 acres. The park district now protects more than 24,000 acres in 49 communities.
Kyle Baker, director of real estate with Cleveland Metroparks, explained the reasoning behind the continuing acquisitions: “We want to preserve habitats, make high-quality park land more accessible to all residents of Northeast Ohio and create more and better connections between existing park amenities.”
For most outdoor lovers, the additions simply mean further opportunities to explore the diverse natural wonders of Cleveland Metroparks.