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Above: A vernal pond, or temporary wetland, in Riding Run. Below: Averill Pond in Waldo Semon Conservation Area

Conservation Areas

In addition to 16 developed parks and more than 125 miles of trails, Summit Metro Parks manages several conservation areas for the purpose of preserving Summit County’s natural resources. While these conservation areas are not regularly open to the public, access may be granted through an approved Special-use Permit.

Columbia Run Conservation Area
Surrounded by Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this 366-acre conservation area is characterized by steep ravines and nearly-mature forests. Columbia Run flows through the area and supports several communities of coldwater fish, including southern redbelly dace, a rare minnow. Rare birds have been observed here as well, including cerulean warblers, an Ohio species of concern. This area is accessible via the statewide Buckeye Trail.

Kniss Conservation Area
The smallest of our named conservation areas, the 73-acre Kniss Conservation Area was donated by the Nature Conservancy in 1974. It is adjacent to Bath Nature Preserve, which is managed by the Bath Township Park System. At one time, these woods were considered one of the best local examples of a beech-maple forest ecosystem.

Riding Run Conservation Area
This 705-acre conservation area includes fields and forests that support rare plants. One such species is the butternut tree, which is being attacked by a fungus throughout its range. Black-throated green warblers have been observed here, and Furnace Run – one of the cleanest tributaries to the Cuyahoga River – flows through parts of this area. Portions of Riding Run are leased for sweet corn production and continue a long tradition of agriculture in the valley. Corn can be seen growing off Everett Road and will eventually find its way to Szalay's Farm, a regional attraction for many people traveling through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The conservation area is accessible via neighboring bridle trails.

Waldo Semon Conservation Area
This 122-acre conservation area was donated in 1974 by Waldo Semon, an employee of Akron’s B.F. Goodrich Company who invented a way to make PVC (vinyl) useful. The woods are accessible via trails maintained by Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Stanford Trail has a short spur that takes visitors to Averill Pond, home to beavers, herons and many amphibian species. Several rare plant species grow here, including satin brome and wild rice.

Wetmore Conservation Area
In 1974, the National Park Service acquired thousands of acres that were managed by Metro Parks, including Virginia Kendall Park. Despite this acquisition, Metro Parks retained 572 wooded acres – today’s Wetmore Conservation Area. It includes great forests, steep ravines and high-quality stream corridors. The land is accessible via bridle trails maintained by Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

For more information about conservation areas, developed parks and trails, call the administrative offices at 330-867-5511, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.



Did You Know?

Snake 'n Bake
Snakes can often be seen basking in the sun on the Bike & Hike and Towpath trails. The warm surfaces raise their body temperatures.

Species of Concern
The Metro Parks are home to the federally threatened northern monkshood and the federally endangered Indiana bat.

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Metro Parks Contact Info -  975 Treaty Line Road Akron, OH 44313 330-867-5511
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