Pay a Visit to the Brecksville Reservation…

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Olsen Ziegler Realty

Welcome to the Brecksville ReservationOne of the most amazing sights I have seen in a long time is that of a hawk circling intently for minutes before making its, it was the time when we were driving past the pond behind the library and the heron was languishing by the, no, it was the time the doe and her four babies crossed the Metroparks road in front of us during a spring snowfall, no wait, I know,  it was the time we were all driving back from getting ice cream at Country Maid Ice Cream (which offers natural, homemade ice cream and deserves its own post) talking about how we have never seen a coyote and all of a sudden, in the far distance, we saw him scampering through an open field in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which adjoins the Brecksville Reservation.

So what is the Brecksville Reservation?  It is one of sixteen reservations which comprise what, we here in the Cleveland metropolitan area, refer to as the "Emerald Necklace."  Why?  Because over 21,000 acres of parkland literally encircles the city of Cleveland. Why?  Because in 1917, a young engineer by the name of William Stinchcomb, believed there would be a need for open space when the city grew larger.   

Now, in 2009, it never ceases to amaze me how lucky we are to live in a beautiful suburb 13 miles from a large city where we can enjoy all of the culture the city offers as well as enjoy nature all around us.  There is just about every recreational attraction you can think of -- from hiking trails to bridle trails, from golf courses to toboggan chutes, from picnic/pavilion areas to playgrounds, from fishing to swimming, and from skiing to snowboarding there is truly everything for everyone.  There are so many programs and events provided throughout the year that I cannot possibly capture every one.  So, I thought I would choose a random January day and actually post the list of activities available from the Cleveland Metroparks website-the day is January 11, 2009.


January 11

Birds and Coffee
Join us as we enjoy the birds visiting the feeders as we sip on hot coffee. We will discuss how to attract birds to your own backyard and behaviors of the birds that are being observed. This is a great opportunity to have your bird questions answered. Space is limited - call for reservations.
9 - 10 a.m.  NCR
Nature Education Building
Ages: adults & families
Register beginning January 2

Coffee with the Birds
Let's observe the birds visiting the Nature Center feeders while we sip on a warm cup of coffee. Discover which kinds of seed attract the most birds. You may go home with some ideas of ways to attract birds to your yard. We'll provide coffee, binoculars and birds.
9 - 10 a.m.  Rocky River Nature Center
Registration required

 Drop In Discovery - Snowflake
Stop in anytime from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and work with Naturalist John Miller to learn how to capture snowflakes and make permanent "fossil" impressions that can be observed with a microscope or hand lens. If it is snowing you will be able to make your own fossil flakes. If not we will observe some from previous winters.
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.  Brecksville Nature Center

Snowy Day Stories
Let's go for a short hike and then gather around the fire for some stories about how people, places and things change with the winter weather.
1 - 2:30 p.m.  Garfield Park Nature Center
Ages: 3 - 10 years with adult

Science Olympiad Study Session: Tracking
In preparation for the Elementary Science Olympiad, students are invited to this study session to prepare for the "What went by?" portion of the competition. Students should bring a field guide if they have one and plan to spend some time on the trails. Registration is required.
1:30  -  4 p.m.  South Chagrin Reservation
Look About Lodge
Register at

Cabin Fever Hike
Join Naturalist Min Keung to walk off the winter blues as we walk around the beautiful wetland. Get a close-up look at the bat house and the chimney swift tower.
2 - 3 p.m.  Mill Stream Run Reservation
Strongsville Wildlife Area
Terrain: may be icy or muddy, 1 mile

Winter Walkabout
Enjoy a January hike through the forest to the overlook, where we will hand feed the chickadees. We will search for animal tracks, squirrels and woodpeckers along the way.
2 - 3:30 p.m.  North Chagrin Nature Center
A. B. Williams Memorial Woods parking lot
Terrain: slippery, some hills, 1.5 miles

Winter Book Review
Join Naturalist Joni Norris and the Rocky River Readers as we review Addicted to Danger by Jim Wickwire and Dorothy Bullitt. You may have seen the full-length film. However, this remarkable story told in Wickwire's own words is worth the read.
2 - 4  Rocky River Nature Center
Ages: adults

Elementary Science Olympiad Coaching
Are you planning on participating in this year's competition? Help is on the way. Join a naturalist to brush up on your knowledge of reptiles and amphibians.
2 - 4 p.m.  Rocky River Nature Center
Registrations required

Hike for your Supper
Come to the Lodge on this cold winter evening and enjoy learning a little more about animals that are active in winter. You can choose between joining an energizing or more relaxed pace hike. When you register you will be assigned a food item to bring. When the hikers return to the Lodge, we'll all enjoy a warm supper prepared by our volunteers. 
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.  South Chagrin Reservation
Look About Lodge
Terrain: rolling hills, 0.5 miles
Register by January 8

Hand Feed a Chickadee

Generations of visitors have experienced the thrill of feeding a free-flying bird that lands in your hand. Now it's your turn! We'll provide a handful of sunflower seeds and instructions.


Do you think there are enough options for one day??  Imagine if you lived in the Cleveland area and could take advantage of all of this, any day you choose!

I cannot impress enough upon people the importance of this incredible park system and all it has to offer.  Because we live and work in Brecksville, our children are growing up with all of nature around them.  We are fortunate also to be adjacent to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which is entitled to its own post.  I cannot tell you the number of times we have enjoyed the Brecksville Reservation-from our daughter starting her equestrian activities at the Brecksville Stables, to taking our dog hiking on the trails, to participating in the Nature Center's programs, to just hanging out on the swings next to the pavilion. 

In the age of the internet, DS, and Mario Card, it is truly wonderful to have the opportunity to teach our children through exposure and experience, the wonders of nature.  One of the very first things we did after moving to Brecksville, the day before Thanksgiving and only one month prior to at least 50" of snow on the ground, was to take our kids and Labrador Retriever sledding about 1 mile from our home down a enormous hill.  They thought it was the best thing they had ever done and could not believe this was only a mile from our house.  I can assure you, we all slept well that night!  Another "first" I remember is taking our daughter to the Brecksville Nature Center (she was 7) at night for a program about owls.  She was so excited when she heard the different owls out in the night as we traversed the path around the Nature Center.  Our entire group learned how to call to them and they actually called back-how cool that was!!  We still hear them at night in our neighborhood since it abuts the Reservation.

Nature at its finest is all around Cleveland...literally!  Pay a visit...

 One of many entrances to the Brecksville ReservationMeandering Creek in the Brecksville ReservationBrecksville Reservation - Meandering Creek

 All photos are copyrighted and taken by Chris Olsen on 1/23/2009.


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Caren Wallace
Premier Property Group LLC - Tualatin, OR
Portland Caren Real Estate

Chris, the metro parks are many of the wonders of Beautiful Ohio! We are so blessed with so many parks to visit, it takes a whole year to get around to all of them!

Jan 25, 2009 10:23 PM #1
Debbie Malone
Londeree's Real Estate & Property Management - Lynchburg, VA
From Lynchburg To The Lake (434) 546-0369

Chris, this is an excellent localism blog! I love all of the photo's and there are so many activities local residents can take advantage of. Best wishes for 2009!

Jan 26, 2009 11:52 PM #2
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Caren:  Yes, many people relocation to Greater Cleveland or Akron are pleasantly surprised by the abundance of our outdoor treasures right in our own backyard.  In fact, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the 3rd most visited park in the nation and it's right here in Northeast Ohio.

Debbie:  Thanks, and I used to live in Nothern Virginia and the entire state of Virginia is an incredibly beautiful place -- I used to hike in the Shenandoah.

Jan 27, 2009 08:20 AM #3
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Chris Olsen

Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate
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