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Roots Revealed Blog

Your Parks, Your Stories: Cleveland Metroparks Memories Project

Posted: 12/4/2013
Posted By: Foster Brown

I have had the pleasure of traveling throughout the Greater Cleveland area, presenting cultural and natural history programs for over 17 years.  Everywhere I go, whether it’s for senior centers, libraries, public schools, homeschool events, or various civic organizations, people approach me with heartwarming stories of how Cleveland Metroparks has enriched their lives.

Not being blessed with a photographic memory, I regret not carrying a recorder to capture, in their own words, some of the vivid memories folks have shared. Some individuals have approached me with a smile on their face and a grateful heart, recalling how they attended camp in the '40s in South Chagrin Reservation, swam in Chippewa Creek , rowed boats on Brookside and Garfield Park ponds, picnicked on the weekends  at Euclid Creek , enjoyed wildflowers in Rocky River Reservation, went birding with a naturalist in A.B. Williams Memorial Woods, rode horseback  in Tinkers Creek valley, learned how to golf at Little Met, and the stories go on and on. I love to hear stories passed down through the generations, reflections of a favorite site, or indelible recollections of activities along the Emerald Necklace.

Picnicking in Brecksville Reservation

Golfing in Cleveland Metropolitan Park System    Photo courtesy of Cleveland Public Library

But wait… not all is lost. There is a chance for you, your family and your friends to share your stories! In preparing for Cleveland Metroparks 100th Anniversary in 2017, a team of staff and volunteers are being sent out in 2014 and 2015 to capture your amazing stories. We are looking for stories from every generation possible. This project is all about your voice, your perspective, and your memories of experiences in Cleveland Metroparks.

We will be setting up recording stations during special events and weeknights at nature centers and facilities. Formal dates and locations will be set each month and posted in the Emerald Necklace. If you cannot make any of the dates, we can make special accommodations to collect your stories. 

Along with your stories, we are seeking photos to scan, artifacts and memorabilia to collect or photograph to document events and activities that verify Cleveland Metroparks past.

The goal of this project is to take your memories and produce programs, exhibits, displays, blogs, podcast, songs, books and whatever else we can creatively capture to help celebrate 100 years of Cleveland Metroparks.  It is "Your Parks, Your Stories" that will be the main impetus for many interactive exhibits in 2017.

Horseback riding in South Chagrin Reservation

So… start reminiscing, talk to your family and friends and make an appointment to come talk with us. We know that thousands of Greater Cleveland residents and visitors have lasting memories, touching stories and remarkable moments that have taken place in Cleveland Metroparks.

Give us a call at 440-786-8530. You never know, your story might end up on this blog!


1/11/2014 2:55:09 PM by Susanne Sande
I've lived near and walked the Metroparks trails at North Chagrin reservation for almost 20 years now, and it is my main source of serenity. I've also taken part in the Photography Weekend and recently joined Nature Journaling at South Chagrin, and the Nature Art Club. On many a Summer holiday, my parents and I have had picnics near the duck pond. Our Metroparks system is not only outstanding, but I really feel the leadership at all levels care about the people and the community. What a wonderful resource!
12/10/2013 1:18:02 PM by Foster Brown
John and Tim,

Thanks for your comments and stories concerning memories in Cleveland Metroparks. I would truly enjoy talking to you at some time in the near future. My email address is or call me at 440-786-8530. Thanks for reading the blogs!
12/9/2013 6:19:24 AM by John Goetz
My favorite Metropark memory is fishing at the boat ramp in the Rocky River. My father and I would buy McDonald's French fries for bait. All the regular fisherman told us you had use McDonalds fries. The first time we used those fries I caught the biggest carp I've ever seen.
12/9/2013 6:09:29 AM by Tim Wagner
I remember going to day camp with the YMCA back in the 70's out near Wallace lake. It was then that i fell in love with the metroparks. Please, keep the metroparks an enjoyable place to visit for many generations to come. Tim.
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