RAVENNA, OH – Morgan Park will be closed due to construction starting the week of August 20, 2018. The Meadow Loop Trail will be resurfaced to become a handicapped accessible trail. This improvement is made possible through a grant from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation. The grant also includes a small butterfly garden and interpretive signage. The Portage Park District will be installing a restroom at the park this year as well.
For additional information regarding park closures, call (330) 297-7728. The Portage Park District’s mission is to conserve Portage County’s natural heritage and provide opportunities for its appreciation and enjoyment.
More about Morgan Park
In February 2018, Burton D. Morgan Foundation awarded a grant of $65,900 to Portage Park District Foundation for the continued development of the 504-acre Morgan Park in Shalersville Township. At one time, the Foundation’s founder, Burt Morgan, purchased the land with the intent to develop an international airport. The land remained undeveloped and went to Burt Morgan’s estate upon his passing in 2003. Western Reserve Land Conservancy negotiated purchase of the land in 2009, and in 2010 it was bought by the Portage Park District with grants from Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Peg’s Foundation, and state grants designated for environmental protection.
Foundation President and CEO Deborah Hoover commented, “In recognition of Mr. Morgan’s strong affinity for Portage County, Morgan Foundation is thrilled to be able to make this additional commitment to Morgan Park, and particularly to enhance access so that more visitors can enjoy the scenic Meadow Loop Trail. We hope lots of enthusiastic visitors of all ages will be able to experience Morgan Park in the years to come and we thank Portage Park District for making this dream a reality.”
“We’re honored to have the continued support of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation to improve access for all to enjoy this beautiful landscape and learn about our local ecosystems,” stated Portage Park District Executive Director Christine Craycroft. “For a small park district these kinds of public-private partnerships are especially critical; we greatly appreciate Mr. Morgan’s legacy and the Foundation’s excellent staff for bringing it to fruition.”
Berlin Lake Trail Assault
Deerfield, OH: The Portage Park District was notified by the Portage County Sheriff’s Department of the recent assault of a trail user. “We’re heartbroken to learn of these two incidents on the trail this summer, the only violent crimes we’ve ever had in our parks”, said Christine Craycroft, executive director. The Sheriff’s office is handling the investigation and the Park District’s Chief Ranger is encouraging citizens to share any pertinent information with them by calling 330-296-2100.
The Park District recommends park patrons exercise the same caution when visiting parks as they would in other public spaces and remote areas, including:
- Go with a friend and share travel plans
- Carry a phone
- Stay aware of your surroundings
- If you see something of concern, report it
- Call 9-1-1 for emergencies
The 2-mile Berlin Lake Trail was constructed in 2011 on a former railroad corridor leased by the Park District from the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the US Army Corps of Engineers. The project was made possible thanks to a state grant and the assistance of the local Berlin Lake Association, who is encouraging the community to continue to use and enjoy the trail as a deterrent to criminal activity.
Public planning launches for ‘Tinkers Creek Greenway’ and ‘Kent Bog Expansion’
Portage Park District is now seeking public input to inform plans for creating two new parks on properties acquired in recent years, currently known as the ‘Tinkers Creek Greenway’ and the ‘Kent Bog Expansion’. Portage Parks purchased two properties in 2017, and we are looking for input from the community on the types of amenities that will be added—including suggestions on a park name! Visit the park planning page for park maps, online survey and photos. Find out more here.
Portage Park District launches community park prescription program
Portage Park District recently launched its Park Prescription program, known as Park Rx. The program’s goal is to help the community get healthy and stay healthy while enjoying Portage Parks. Park Rx encourages visitors to use parks to focus on taking care of their health, including taking part in activities like walking or biking, rehabilitating after surgery or simply relaxing in the beauty of nature.
The Park Prescription program is a part of the Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) priority for the Portage County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). As a part of this priority, Portage Park District has partnered with several local organizations and agencies to begin dispersing Park Rx materials to those who might benefit the most from the information. “The CHIP is a long-term, systematic effort to address community health problems that have been identified by consensus from community stakeholders. CHIP partners are working to create a community that encourages healthy eating, and active living. This can be accomplished through programs such as the Park Rx program”, said Joseph Diorio, Health Commissioner.
Current Park Rx partners include: AxessPointe Community Health Centers, Inc. in Kent; Kent State University, School of Health Sciences; NEOMED SOAR Clinic; Ohio WIC; Portage County Health District; Portage County Job and Family Services; Sequoia Wellness; University Hospitals Portage Medical Center.
“UH Portage MC is proud to support this Parks program. As the President of the hospital and a licensed Occupational Therapist, I encourage everyone who is able to take advantage of this program. Regular physical activity has numerous health benefits including heart health, increasing endurance, improving the delivery of nutrients to vital organs, and can help to improve mental clarity. As always, I would recommend speaking with your physician about your exercise prescription.” said Bill Benoit, President of University Hospitals Portage Medical Center. Partners of the Park prescription program will work directly with clients who would benefit from additional time in nature; they will share park activity flyers and encourage outdoor activities to increase overall health and wellness.
Portage Park District has created activity sheets for each park, offering general park information and sample activities that can be completed at each location. These activity sheets can be found on the Park Rx page. Park Rx partner, Kent State University, School of Health Sciences is providing some funding for printed materials through a Maternal and Child Health Grant through the Ohio Department of Health.
“Park Rx is really a program for everyone in the community. With over 2,000 acres of land, 14 miles of hike and bike trail and nine miles of equestrian trails, it’s a great way to explore Portage County while also working toward healthy goals.” said Andrea Metzler, Public Engagement Coordinator for Portage Park District, “And this is just the beginning. We hope this pilot program will increase participation in outdoor activities and can continue to expand its reach to additional health care providers.”
Park Rx is a national initiative made up agencies that are dedicated to using nature and public lands to improve individual and community health. In October 2013, the Institute at the Golden Gate and the National Recreation and Parks Association, with support from the National Park Service, convened a group of practitioners to discuss the emerging trend of prescribing nature to improve mental and physical health. This group of park agencies, healthcare providers, and community organizations were inspired by the concept and eager to support Park Prescriptions as they moved beyond initial pilot tests into the mainstream. This group developed the National ParkRx Initiative with the goal of supporting the emerging community of Park Prescription practitioners.