Summit Metro Parks We're Your Back Yard
COVID19

COVID-19 Updates


11/20/20 COVID-19 RESPONSE UPDATE:


Parks & trails remain open
. Please see below for the latest information and FAQs and observe the following guidelines for safe park use:
  • Think First: Stay home if you are sick or have symptoms.
  • Wash Hands: Wash your hands before coming to the park, carry hand sanitizer and try to avoid high-touch areas.
  • Keep Your Distance: Maintain 6 feet between yourself and others and give warning before passing on the trail.​ Follow trail markings for one-way travel.
  • Come Prepared: Bring your own drinking water, carry out your trash and be prepared for possible restroom closures.​
  • Respect Closures: Some restrooms and other amenities are closed for public safety. Please bypass busy areas for quieter ones - it's a great time to check out a new park.
  • Stay in Touch: The situation changes rapidly. We are implementing dynamic closures and updating this website and our social media with the latest information. ​

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In response to Summit County’s new stay-at-home advisory, Summit Metro Parks today announced an updated COVID-19 response plan featuring zero-contact customer service for spree rewards, gift shop purchases and more. Parks and trails continue to be open for the community’s physical and mental well-being. Building closures and programming modifications remain in place.
 
Spree Rewards and Desk Calendars Mailed Free of Charge
To receive Fall Hiking Spree or Spree for All rewards, hikers should mail their completed forms to 975 Treaty Line Rd., Akron 44313 or scan and email them to nrcsrs@summitmetroparks.org. Hiking spree pins and shields will be mailed free of charge to the address listed on the form. Rewards remain free for Summit County residents. Out-of-county residents will be contacted regarding payment for their spree rewards ($5 per pin or shield). Hiking spree staffs for first-year hikers will be distributed at a later date.
 
The park district’s free annual desk calendar will be available by early December. Summit County residents interested in receiving up to five calendars should call 330-865-8065 or email nrcsrs@summitmetroparks.org. Calendars will be mailed free of charge.
 
Maple Leaf Gifts
The full inventory of nature-themed and SMP-branded items from Maple Leaf Gifts is also available for shipping nationwide. Please see www.summitmetroparks.org or call 330-865-8065 for more details. Standard shipping rates apply.
 
 Public Programming and Facilities
Summit Metro Parks continues to offer dozens of free virtual and self-guided nature education and health-based programs each month. Due to the current surge in COVID-19 cases and stay-at-home advisory, the park district has temporarily suspended its limited selection of in-person public programs through at least December 31. Public buildings and lodges remain closed, and special use permit approvals continue to be on hold. Summit Metro Parks closely monitors crowds at parks and trails, and may implement rolling parking restrictions and amenity closures to promote safe distancing.
 
Summit Metro Parks remains fully operational, with rangers and maintenance crews continuing to keep parks clean and safe, naturalists and biologists helping to deliver virtual programming, and the majority of administrative staff continuing to telework to serve the public while complying with social distancing requirements. At this time, facilities and amenities that remain closed for public safety include:

Frequently Asked Questions:


Are parks and trails open during Summit County's stay-at-home advisory?
Yes. Parks and trails remain open for the community's physical and mental well-being.

Can I complete my Fall Hiking Spree?
Yes, Fall Hiking Spree is continuing as usual! Information on the 2020 spree is available at hikingspree.summitmetroparks.org.

How do I collect my hiking spree rewards? Will there be shield assistance?
To receive Fall Hiking Spree or Spree for All rewards, hikers should mail their completed forms to 975 Treaty Line Rd., Akron 44313 or scan and email them to nrcsrs@summitmetroparks.org. Hiking spree pins and shields will be mailed free of charge to the address listed on the form. Rewards remain free for Summit County residents. Out-of-county residents will be contacted regarding payment for their spree rewards ($5 per pin or shield). Hiking spree staffs for first-year hikers will be distributed at a later date.

While we are unable to safely offer shield assistance this year, we have created a step-by-step video for attaching the shield to your hiking staff, available via the Fall Hiking Spree website and our YouTube channel.

How can I get a 2021 desk calendar?
The park district’s free annual desk calendar will be available by early December. Summit County residents interested in receiving up to five calendars should call 330-865-8065 or email nrcsrs@summitmetroparks.org. Calendars will be mailed free of charge.

How do we reach you while staff is teleworking?
At this time, our offices are closed, but we continue to serve you. Please call 330.867.5511 to reach us. We are also available by email for questions regarding a lodge, shelter or camping reservation or a special use permit at csr@summitmetroparks.org.

When will in-person programming resume?
During the current stay-at-home advisory, in-person programming has been temporarily suspended. Please visit our Programs & Events calendar for a listing of dozens of free virtual and self-guided programs to help you stay connected to nature.

Why are your nature centers closed? When will they reopen?
Nature centers encourage people to gather together in a small area with many high-touch surfaces. Summit Metro Parks nature centers cannot meet the state’s disinfection and physical distancing guidelines for retail, consumer service and entertainment venues and therefore are not permitted to open under current rules. We do not currently have a reopening date.

What is the status of my reservation?
  • All lodge reservations are canceled through March 31 and you may reschedule or receive a refund. A customer service representative will be in touch with you to work out those details, or you may email us at csr@summitmetroparks.org.
  • Until further notice, Summit Metro Parks is only accepting new lodge reservations for dates April 1, 2021 and beyond. Reservations can be made by phone at 330-867-5511, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm.
  • Additional cancellations are possible, pending further guidance from public health authorities. Rescheduling and refunds are also available to those with reservations through March 31.
What does this mean for my Special Use Permit?
  • Special-use permits are considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with state guidelines, Summit County Public Health requirements and park district policies.
  • Permit holders may be required to provide proof that Summit County Public Health has approved their plan for complying with safety and social distancing guidance.
The governor has allowed weddings and wedding receptions - why is my lodge reservation still canceled?
The governor’s order involving weddings applies to facilities that can operate under all the guidelines set forth for restaurants. Summit Metro Parks lodges cannot meet restaurant guidelines and therefore are not permitted to open under current rules. The park district was unable to hire seasonal employees this year and does not have the staff necessary to ensure these facilities can be safely opened with proper disinfection and physical distancing requirements in place.

How can the public use the parks safely?
Summit Metro Parks urges everyone to stay home if sick or exhibiting symptoms, wash their hands before coming to the parks and maintain at least six feet from other visitors. The park district also reminds visitors to avoid congregating in parking lots or at points of interest and to bypass busy parking lots. Visitors are asked to carry their own water and hand sanitizer, avoid “high touch” items like benches, railings and picnic tables, and if possible, to bring a trash bag to carry out their own trash. 

Why are some trails marked for one-way travel?
To help keep visitors safe, the park district has installed one-way signs on certain trails where it is difficult to maintain six feet of distance when passing – these include trails with narrow boardwalks and trail sections.

Do I need to wear a mask at the parks?
While visitors are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas when maintaining six feet from others, we recommend bringing one in order to be prepared.
 
What can I do to reduce my chance of exposure?
Parks are safe to visit at any time of day if proper social distancing is practiced. However, early morning hours are the least-visited and therefore the best time to minimize exposure. We encourage visitors to avoid high-traffic areas and visit less-busy parks. This is a great time to check out a new park! Some suggestions include:
Are you offering senior hours?
Because so few people visit the parks early in the morning, senior hours have been discontinued at this time. Early morning hours remain the best time to visit the parks to reduce your chance of exposure.

Is it safe to use a picnic table, bench or grill?
While Summit Metro Parks has lifted restrictions on using these amenities, please be aware that we are unable to disinfect them.

Are your public playgrounds open?
Playgrounds and nature play areas have reopened. Please be aware that we are unable to disinfect these facilities.
 
Are the restrooms open?
The vast majority of our restrooms have reopened. A list of closed restrooms is available on the Park & Trail Alerts page. Restrooms are cleaned once daily to protect staff and preserve supplies and equipment. Silver Creek Metro Park bathhouse restrooms and indoor restrooms Goodyear Heights Metro Park Lodge will remain closed.
 
Are you hiring?
We continue to accept applications and are screening and interviewing applicants. For more information on available positions, please visit:  https://www.summitmetroparks.org/employment.aspx.