Ashtabula County Metroparks

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Brett Bellas (2)

Ashtabula Metroparks tabs Bellas as Operations Manager

By on May 16, 2017

Jefferson, OH. Ashtabula Metroparks has hired experienced native Ashtabula Countian Brett Bellas as its first Operations Manager. Bellas, who hails from Rock Creek, spent the past eighteen years with Geauga Park District, most recently as their Maintenance and Construction Manager.  “We are fortunate to hire someone with Brett’s experience and skillset away from Geauga Park District.  He has volunteered his time and expertise on trails, and has been involved with Metroparks since before passage of the Levy”, noted Larry Frimerman, Metroparks’ Executive Director.  As Operations Manager Bellas will manage specific park operations and manage maintenance, construction and trail development.

“I have been committed to bringing quality parks and park experiences in my home county.  I was active with People for Parks as well as with the Metroparks Advisory Council, commented Bellas.

Trail Riders

Greenway Winter Trail Conditions

By on December 21, 2016

The Greenway Trail is now closed to snowmobiling due to lack of snow.  3/17/2017

Call the Grand River Trail Riders snow hotline at 440.275.9680 or visit:  for updates on trail conditions and closures.


In Memoriam

By on November 23, 2016

On November 1, 2016, the Ashtabula County Metroparks lost a valuable and early friend of the Western Reserve Greenway. Duane L. Mallory passed away from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident. Duane was the first volunteer Bike Patrol Facilitator and first volunteer Maintenance Supervisor of the Greenway Trail in Ashtabula County. Duane was a fellow employee at NOVA Chemicals in Painesville, Ohio with long time Ashtabula County Metropark Board Member Charlie Kohli. Duane, a Maintenance Technician, would discuss the progress of the creation and construction of the Western Reserve Greenway with Laboratory Technician Kohli over their years of employment. Duane was an avid bicyclist with the local YMCA at the time and saw the need to have a volunteer Bike Patrol for the safety and assistance of trail users and the need to maintain the newly constructed trail. Duane worked with fellow trail enthusiast Cap Portzer to initiate the volunteer Bike Patrol and Maintenance Crew. After a long while, Duane relinquished maintenance duties to present Park Board member Terry Berkey and Bike Patrol responsibilities to Chris Martello. The Board of Commissioners of the Ashtabula County Metroparks extends its sincere condolences to Duane’s wife Jane and his family for the early work of the Western Reserve Greenway volunteer pioneer, Duane L. Mallory.

Harpersfield Covered Bridge

Metropark officials expected revenues total a little more than $903,000

By on November 16, 2016

Metropark officials expected revenues total a little more than $903,000
By JUSTIN DENNIS Nov 14, 2016
JEFFERSON — With a new executive director and a preliminary budget OK’d by the county budget commission, Ashtabula County Metroparks officials updated the Star Beacon on the myriad projects getting underway.
Executive Director Larry Frimerman, who joined the board in August, said he’s met with the board seven out of eight weeks in the previous two months, to learn about the area’s Metroparks, their features and operations, and existing update plans.
Wednesday’s meeting at the board’s new North Chestnut Street office was hours long, he said.
Frimerman’s contract costs $65,000 in his first year, and is renegotiated every year, he said. The former 13-year federal liaison for the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel mused, “I don’t like spending the public’s money.”
“It’s so important to figure out a way of spending it wisely and stretching those dollars as far as you can,” he said.
The board is now working with about $852,000 in new 2014 levy funding it began receiving this year in semi-annual installments of about $426,000. With outside funding sources, its expected revenues total a little more than $903,000 on the year, he said.
He said the board has reformed its advisory council — which takes its cues from the community — and it meets for the first time this week.
The board set aside up to $90,000 in its operating budget to pay for police coverage at the parks and greenway trails, during “the peak times for park use and potential park safety issues,” Frimerman said.
The board has also requested a contract with the county Sheriff’s Department, to have deputies stationed part-time at different parts of the park throughout the week, he said.

Harpersfield Metropark, Harpersfield Twp, Geneva
Frimerman said the board also plans to be involved in replacement of the more than 100-year-old Harpersfield Dam, which the Star Beacon reported is expected to cost about $6 million.
He said the dam acts as a barrier against an infestation of sea lampreys, which prey on sport fish.
The board also recently added handicapped accessible picnic tables, swings and other amenities at the park, as part of a $25,000 NatureWorks grant from the state Department of Natural Resources, Frimerman said.
North Shore Trail – West Avenue, Ashtabula
Finishing the trail — which would expand the Western Reserve Greenway Trail’s span by about four miles from West Avenue to the Harbor — was expected to cost about $2.2 million, board members said in May.
But acquisition deals with commercial property owners in the proposed area which fell through mean the trail plan will now likely include municipal roadways, Frimerman said. That will, however, save some money, he added.
“We still have to get an agreement signed with the city of Ashtabula in terms of ‘who does what,’” he said. “If we build it and they come, who will maintain?”
The board’s grant availability period for easements and rights-of-way runs through December. The board is still seeking design and implementation approval from the state transportation department.
Lampson Reservoir Metropark, Jefferson
Although officials were initially eyeing the reservoir’s deteriorating dam for removal due to safety concerns — one drowning was reported in 2010 — Frimerman said the board recognizes its removal could have consequent benefits for local flora and fauna.
“It’s not just impeding water flow and making it a little less desirable and healthy as a stream for fish and other plants and animals … also, it’s a dam safety issue,” he said.
He said money for the job could be tied into flood plain restoration funding for 70 acres adjacent to the reservoir, which were lumped with the park when the Western Reserve Land Conservancy bought the property from the county.
“Not only will there be restored wetlands and habitats, but there’ll be new hiking trails and access points and opportunities for fishermen and wildlife enthusiasts and birders and whatnot — and it will all occur within the next few years,” Frimerman said.
Camp Peet, Creek Road, Conneaut (Clara D Peet Preserve)
Frimerman said the board is planning a vault toilet for the park, and is designing a pavilion to allow for more activities.
Since the Harpersfield Metropark now has new picnic tables, some of its existing tables that are in better shape could be moved to Camp Peet.
The board assumed ownership of the about 70-acre park property last year. Last month, the park’s roughly two miles of trails and primitive campsites were opened from dawn to dusk for pedestrians, and youth groups.
“Now that Camp Peet is open, we have to make sure it’s policed and clean,” he said. “I think people are very happy there, from everything we’ve seen.”
Hatches Corners, Metropark, State Route 7, Monroe Township
The board is currently designing horse and hiking trails at the about 200-acre park. Frimerman said the addition would likely start as an inexpensive, “primitive” trail, which could be improved later on.
A parking lot on the Route 7 side of the park is already in place, and Frimerman said there’s potential for another lot on the Hatches Corners side.
He said the board may be able to bring on an intern to identify plant species along the park’s trails and put together a guidebook for visitors. Frimerman said the board looks to make informational brochures on plant species and designated trails, as well as directional signage, available for each of its parks.
More details
He said the Metroparks board will soon receive a new Conneaut property before the end of the year, which will be acquired for them through an outside agency. The board intends to turn it into a nature preserve, which would be light on cost, he said. He declined to give further details on the property before the deal is finalized.
The board has also awarded two bids for daytime snow plowing at the Greenway Trail in Austinburg, Eagleville, Orwell and Lampson Road, when snowfall is five inches or more, Frimerman said.
The board also is finishing installing the parking lot at the Blakeslee (Friends of Conneaut Creek Metropark) Park and has begun planning new trail routes.

Follow Justin Dennis on Twitter @justindennis.


Eyring Wetlands Preserve

By on September 9, 2016

Eyring Wetlands Preserve

Recent image of Eyring Wetlands Preserve. Parking lot is planned for 2017.

Visit the Eyring Wetland Page.

Covered Bridge Shoppe

Covered Bridge Shoppe

By on July 14, 2016

Covered Bridge Shoppe

The Covered Bridge Shoppe is a small, but extravagant shoppe located in the Harpersfield Covered Bridge Metropark. The gift shoppe features local arts and crafts along with light snacks, cold beverages and ice cream.

Operated by local park lovers, The Covered Bridge Shoppe donates its profits to the Friends of the Harpersfield Covered Bridge Park.

Summer hours are Wednesday-Saturday 10am-4pm and Sunday 12pm-4pm or visit anytime at

New Office

Metroparks office has moved

By on June 15, 2016

The Metroparks office has moved to 91 N. Chestnut St., Jefferson, Ohio 44047.

The mailing address remains: 25 W. Jefferson St., Jefferson, Ohio 44047.

Spring Peeper

Northern Spring Peepers

By on March 26, 2016

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Northern Spring Peepers

#‎NatureNugget‬: Found in wooded areas and grassy lowlands near ponds and swamps across Ohio, northern spring peppers are tiny, well-camouflaged amphibians rarely seen. In fact, peepers are so small that they can sit comfortably on a dime! You can, and most likely have heard peepers’ shrill, birdlike peeps, or whistles.

Take a listen to spring peepers’ songs:

(Courtesy of Dr. Lisa Rainsong)

Ashtabula County Metroparks

Photo Credits:  Lisa Rainsong


Eyring Wetlands

Eyring Wetlands in Austinburg

By on March 19, 2016

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Eyring Wetlands
Eyring Wetlands

Eyring Wetlands in Austinburg

Eyring Wetlands: Austinburg-Mechanicsville Rd. has 52 acres of undeveloped land with primitive trails. Great for photography, wildlife viewing and more.
Get out and visit the Ashtabula County Metroparks!


Nodding Onion Blog

Nodding Onion Gardens

By on March 19, 2016

Nodding Onion Gardens

Make Space for What’s to Come

By Kristy Belaney

It has been far too long since I have written on this blog. Life has been, well, life. It is amazing to me how much I continue to learn, to grow, to change. Everything we come to know evolves continuously and no matter how hard we try to hold on to certain moments, it is simply not humanly possible. When we are finally able to accept that, what follows is the closest thing to peace we can have on this earth.