Outside media coverage of Mill Creek MetroParks

Mill Creek Park hopes to enhance visitor experience with improvement projects

Four years ago, voters in Mahoning County agreed to provide a million dollars a year to Mill Creek MetroParks for capital improvements. A 15-year plan was started in 2017 and the third year is just about over.

On Tuesday afternoon at Mill Creek South, crews were doing drainage work around the 17th green — part of $300,000 of drainage work done this year on 29 of the golf course greens.

“Last year, we did the bunker restoration at the golf course,” said Mill Creek MetroParks Executive Director Aaron Young. “This year, we’re finishing greens drainage.”

Repairing the golf course greens was one of 13 projects completed, totaling $1.75 million.

“The improvements have been well needed and well-received,” Young said.

Some of the improvements can be seen at the MetroParks offices and farm in Canfield, where the parking lot has been paved, new signs in what will now be the MetroParks style have been put up and a new $50,000 restroom.

Another restroom facility just like it was built at the Wick Recreation area this year. Over the next 10 to 15 years, the plan is to replace all of the restrooms in the park system.

“Quite frankly, if we had the resources, you could argue that they all need replaced right now. We already know that,” Young said.

One of this year’s major construction projects was around Lanterman’s Mill — one of the park’s top attractions.

The entire corner leading to the mill was reconfigured. The area around the mill and Canfield Road has been redone, as has the road that connects the mill with the Silver Bridge.

Like all of the restrooms, all of the roads and parking lots will eventually be redone.

“Everybody likes smooth roads, everybody likes a clear, delineated parking lot and everybody likes a nice restroom experience,” Young said. “You’re ahead of the game if you can provide those base-level amenities.”

The plan next year behind the Morely Pavilion in the Wick Recreation area is to build a new $500,000 maintenance building, which will open up the warming cabin for public use.

In 2020, work on renovating the Ford Nature Center will begin — 90% of the money is in place.

“Anything and everything that the park does needs some level of improvement, and we’re going to try to address as much as we can with the resources that are available,” Young said.

Fifty percent of this year’s capital improvements budget was spent on roads, bridges, parking lots and restrooms. Fixing the old log cabin cost $25,000. Putting in a disc golf course cost another $25,000. About $115,000 was spent on Fellows Riverside Gardens and the East Hike and Bike Trail got $150,000 in improvements.

Full article at wkbn.com

Community members gather in search for Bigfoot in Mill Creek Park

“Does he exist, does he not exist?”

To some, Bigfoot is just a myth. But to others, he is a real creature yet to be found.

On Friday, dozens of people gathered in Mill Creek Park to begin an adventure into the whereabouts of Bigfoot.

“Mill Creek Park, there’s a mystique about it and there’s a mystery. We thought it would be fun, given it’s fall, it’s October, Halloween is right around the corner,” said Lynn Zocolo, an educator with Mill Creek MetroParks.

This is the first year of the Bigfoot Weekend event in Mill Creek. It runs from Friday through Sunday, with different activities for each day.

“To be in the park after dark is quite something special. So tonight is for older kids and adults that are interested or curious,” Zocolo said.

Amy Bue is a local investigator who said she has had her own Bigfoot experiences. Now she travels to different areas looking for him and teaching others how to investigate.

“The first time I ever heard about the fact that — or the idea that Big Foot could be a real creature was after I saw something just right here in Mahoning County in 2012,” Bue said. “I was a passenger in a car going over Meander Reservoir and across the reservoir on the opposite side, holding onto a tree was what, immediately, what I thought looked like Bigfoot.”

On Friday, the group heard a little of Bue’s experiences, then split up to go searching through the park.

On Saturday, there will be some kid-friendly activities and Sunday, there will be a presentation on Bigfoot at the MetroParks Farm in Canfield.

Zocolo said Saturday’s event is full, but Sunday is open to the public and anyone can join.

For more information on the events, you can visit their Facebook event page.

Bue also encourages people to reach out to her with their own experiences. Her email address is bigfootamy@gmail.com.

BIGFOOT-THEMED WEEKEND PLANNED AT MILL CREEK METROPARKS

WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Mill Creek MetroParks hosts first Bigfoot weekend family event

Mill Creek MetroParks is hosting its first Bigfoot weekend.

Local Bigfoot investigator and educator Amy Bue will share her knowledge on how to conduct an investigation and how to collect evidence.

Bue will also share her own experience of what she says is a Bigfoot sighting.

The family-fun events include:

Night investigation – Fri. Oct. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. (For teens and adults; includes s’mores around the campfire)

Kid-friendly stations – Sat. Oct. 5 from 4 to 6 p.m. (includes their own investigation and campfire)

“Bigfoot: Fact or Fiction?” presentation – Sun. Oct. 6 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. (Bue will share her own sighting that she says took place in Mahoning County)

Space is limited for the event. Call Fellows Riverside Gardens at (330) 740-7116 for more information on fees and registration or visit www.millcreekmetroparks.org.

Full article at wkbn.com

Mill Creek Park hopes new technology could prevent algae growth and fish kills

A Youngstown-based environmental company is running some tests around Mill Creek Park for the next few weeks, trying to find ways to kill off dangerous algae.

Green Water Solutions will be testing a new technology around Lake Newport over the next few weeks, using a system that puts more oxygen into waterways.

“A new form of aeration, similar to what we just installed at the Lily Pond,” said Nick Derico, natural resources steward at Mill Creek. “That system was designed to run 24 hours a day, 365. This will be more of a limited treatment period.”

The system doesn’t use hazardous chemicals. Instead, it sprays tiny ozone bubbles into the water.

“The technology is injecting ozone, infused into the nanobubbles,” said Chris Antinone, Jr., with Green Water Solutions. “The nanobubbles sink into the water. One of the things we are trying to do here is put it in downstream, let the nanobubbles come upstream, and see how far they work and how well it works coming up.”

The ozone turns into oxygen, and cleans out some of the nitrogen and other pollutants algae need to grow.

It’s being done in late summer because that’s when algae blooms are the worst.

Scientists from Youngstown State and federal agencies will monitor the results.

“They’re going to look at what’s in the water and what did we take out of the water,” Antinone said.

The park is interested to see how the project turns out. It’s been tested before at Mosquito Lake and in Florida.

This could be a way to control the dangerous bacterial growth like the one that killed thousands of fish in the park in 2015.

“In theory, it is possible,” Derico said. “I don’t want to say a solution, but it could help control those bacterias.”

The company will track nanobubbles down through the park’s waterways and see how far they travel.

Full article at wkbn.com

Course in Canfield gives disc golf a fling

Weeks of warm to cool weather remain this season to enjoy the new disc golf course in Canfield.

The MetroParks Farm Disc Golf Course at the MetroParks Farm, 7574 Columbiana-Canfield Road in Canfield, is open and ready for amateurs and professionals alike.

There is a simple nine-basket course for “newbies” to learn the game, which has grown in popularity over the past decade, said Justin Rogers, planning manager for Mill Creek MetroParks. But for more-experienced players, or less-serious players who want to enjoy a hike through the wooded areas at the farm, the 18-basket “championship course” offers twists and turns through wooded areas and meadows, featuring ponds and fresh air, Rogers said.

The $25,000 course was 10 years in the making and partially funded with an Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant.

After finding a location and getting a grant, it took about a year to design and construct the course, Rogers said.

Rogers said he believes the course will attract clubs and teams of people who play the sport competitively and low-key recreators alike.

“Playing disc golf can be a very personalized experience. It can bring in people who are experienced and competitive, and bring people who are novices interested in it who haven’t played. Plus, the equipment isn’t expensive, and the course is free,” Rogers said. “It is good for children and families, too.”

Roger’s son, 6, made a “birdie” on the course, and it made the boy’s week, Rogers said.

The site was selected because restrooms already exist, along with parking areas and water fountains at the farm. And the course is diversifying the types of activities and people who will be tempted to visit the park, Rogers said. There are also animals, pond fishing, a rain garden and a hall for rent.

The bike way runs through the area. There is a natural playground, an archery range, special events and agricultural programs offered already at the farm, Roger said.

“We felt the area was void of this type of activity, and it is directly in line with our mission to provide recreational opportunities and educational ones,” Rogers said.

The park is open from sunrise to sunset.

Full article at vindy.com

Disc golf course opens at MetroParks Farm in Canfield

There’s a new type of sport to play at Mill Creek MetroParks Farm.

A ribbon-cutting was held Tuesday at 10 a.m. for the opening of the new MetroParks Farm Disc Golf Course on Columbiana Canfield Road in Canfield.

The 9-hole learn-to-play course and an 18-hole championship course is set up with unique settings of wooded areas, meadow and pond landscapes.

The project is part of the MetroParks five year capital improvement plan and was funded by an ODNR grant.

The object of disc golf is to get the disc into the basket in the least amount of throws.

“It is two courses. An 18-hole challenging forest course that is predominantly wooded through meadows and across the pond and everything across the farm. The 9-hole field course is designed to be a learn to play course,” said Justin Rogers, Mill Creek MetroParks Planning Manager.

The disc golf course is a par 60 and about 6,000 feet long.

The course is free and open from dawn to dusk.

Players do have to bring their own discs.

Full article at wfmj.com

New disc golf course opens in Canfield

A new disc golf course opened Tuesday in Canfield.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the new MetroParks Farm Disc Golf Course located at 7574 Columbiana-Canfield Road.

The course includes a 9-hole learn-to-play course and an 18-hole championship course.

“Maybe somebody that is older and advanced plays, and they want to bring their kids out, their grandkids out and introduce them to the game of disc golf. This is the perfect facility. It is obviously picturesque, and there is plenty of other things to do there at the farm,” said Justin Rogers, planning manager for Mill Creek MetroParks.

The disc golf project is part of the MetroParks’ five-year capital improvement plan.

The course was funded in part by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Full article at wkbn.com

Recreational boulder climbing could be coming to Mill Creek Park

On Monday, Mill Creek MetroParks announced it was considering allowing for boulder climbing in a section of the park.

Behind Bears Den Cabin in Mill Creek Park is an outcrop of boulders that would be ideal for climbing.

“I wished there were more rocks here but the rocks that are here are good quality,” said Norm Swann, director of the Ohio Climbers Coalition.

One of his jobs is to gain access for climbers. Swann said these boulders would be perfect.

“It’s not a large area, it wouldn’t be a destination climbing area but for local folks, maybe you get off work, you come out, boulder for a couple hours, get some exercise.”

Right now, it’s illegal to climb the rocks at Mill Creek Park.

People do get hurt bouldering.

“It’s a sport like any other sport,” Swann said. “There are injuries.”

That’s why a big concern of park officials is liability.

Swann said it shouldn’t be because Ohio has a recreational use statute.

“It does limit liability for the landowner as long as they don’t charge a fee and it’s a recreational activity.”

If the MetroParks Board approves, it would only be for one of two rock or boulder climbing areas around Youngstown. The other is the Logtown area near Lisbon, but ropes are needed there.

At Mill Creek, though, Swann likes what he sees.

“There’s a lot of big holds. There’s a lot of big holds for the feet. It is a little overhung, which makes it a little more challenging,” he said.

But Swann likes a challenge.

The top two priorities of the Ohio Climbers Coalition in creating climbing areas are parking and the approach area to the climbing site.

Swann said the Bears Den area is perfect. It has abundant parking and an easy approach.

Full article at wkbn.com

MetroParks commissioners discussing changes to rock climbing, electronic mobility device rules

A few changes could be coming to Mill Creek MetroParks in the near future.

At a meeting Monday night, park commissioners heard two proposals regarding changing or refining two park rules.

One would allow for the public to climb rock faces at designated locations throughout Mill Creek Park. Currently, rock climbing is not allowed.

The second would clarify where and how personal electronic mobility devices such as scooters and golf carts could be used inside the park.

The proposals are in the early stages right now and it could be a while before any changes are implemented.

“You can even identify what speed they can be operated at. So it’s not a simple policy to write, which is why we’re taking our time and evaluating all options,” said Aaron Young, executive director of the Mill Creek Park District.

Park commissioners would also have to address insurance concerns before allowing rock climbing inside the park.

No rules were voted on at Monday’s meeting.

The next meeting is set for Oct. 16.

Full article at wkbn.com