Summertime fun in SMP
Stephanie Walton, Chief of Marketing & Communications
Now that summer is officially underway, Summit Metro Parks invites you to enjoy our local rivers and lakes with a variety of fun activities for the whole family. Paddle, cast, snap and observe your way through summer while exploring all that SMP has to offer.
Whether you’ve never paddled before or you never miss an opportunity to get out on the local waters, SMP has options for you. “For those new to kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding, we offer river- and lake-based programs at Munroe Falls, Silver Creek, Nimisila Reservoir and Gorge Metro Parks, as well as Summit Lake Nature Center,” says Community Engagement Manager Meghan Doran. “You can choose a one-hour program to learn the basics, or a two-hour program to learn to paddle and take a guided tour with a naturalist.” Act fast; programs require registration and fill up quickly!
Prefer to strike out on your own? Summit Metro Parks offers canoes, rowboats, stand-up paddleboards ($10/hour or $30/day) and pedal boats ($5/half-hour) for rent at Silver Creek Metro Park (5000 Hametown Rd., Norton). Visitors must provide a $20 refundable deposit and a valid driver’s license. At least one person in the boat must be 8 years of age or older, and payment may be made by cash or check only.
Personal watercraft are permitted at several Metro Parks, including Firestone, Gorge, Liberty, Munroe Falls, Nimisila Reservoir and Silver Creek. They are also permitted on Summit Lake and on the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas River Water Trails. Please visit our website for important safety information and motor restrictions.
SMP naturalists also offer free fishing programs for anglers of all ages — and even provide equipment on a first-come, first-served basis. “It’s amazing seeing a child’s face light up with the thrill of the catch,” says Naturalist Dave Daly. “We love teaching them a skill they can enjoy with friends and family for the rest of their lives.”
Visitors are also welcome to fish on their own at many Metro Parks locations, either from a boat, dock or the shore. Lakes are stocked frequently and feature species such as black crappie, bluegill sunfish, channel catfish, common carp, rainbow trout and yellow perch. For a full list of fishing locations, rules and regulations and commonly found species, please visit our website.
If you’re more into the beautiful scenery created by the waterways of SMP, check out Nimisila Reservoir Metro Park. A recent Akron Beacon Journal article called it a “sunset paradise,” as it frequently features strikingly colorful displays as nightfall approaches. The lake is also home to a variety of wildlife, top-notch fishing opportunities and a campground.
As an added bonus in late August, visitors will enjoy a truly magical experience as thousands of migrating purple martins perform their aerial acrobatics each evening before roosting in the lake’s reed beds.
Observe our Feathered Friends
“For a relaxing and rewarding activity, the lakes, ponds and rivers of SMP are a wonderful place to view wildlife,” says Interpretive Naturalist Janean Kazimir. “Nesting waterfowl, such as wood ducks and mergansers, dot the landscape.”
Bald eagles, osprey and hawks can be seen hovering high in the clouds. Migrating songbirds settle in for breeding season after flying thousands of miles to reach our natural areas. SMP’s most recent addition, the Valley View Area at Cascade Valley Metro Park, is a restoration success story that hosts many bird species. Stop by any of our nature centers to find out about the latest sightings!
Visit our Programs & Events page to learn more about naturalist-led programs featuring the lakes, rivers and streams of Summit Metro Parks.