Summit Metro Parks We're Your Back Yard

Conservation Areas

Preserving Natural Resources

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.

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

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.

Pond Brook Conservation Area

Pond Brook Conservation Area is home to a significant restoration project. Despite its name, Pond Brook in Liberty Park was nothing like a babbling brook, and it was far from picturesque, after nearly 100 years of abuse. Summit Metro Parks, through partnerships and generous funding through several agencies, completed restoration work on Pond Brook. Formal monitoring took place for the first time in 2009, and results since have been encouraging. Early fish surveys showed a significant reduction in non-native carp and an increase in IBI scores (an index that uses fish to measure water quality).

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

Wetmore Conservation Area