Take Action

Friends of Metro Parks advocates on behalf of our parklands in Summit Metro Parks and the residents of Summit County. Issues we watch and take action on are local, state and federal issues that affect our parks, environment, water, air quality and more. We strive to keep the public informed and provide opportunities for Summit County residents to get engaged and have their voice heard.

Become an advocate

Yes, please add me to the growing list of advocates supporting Summit Metro Parks! By joining our free advocacy program, we will count you among our supporters as we reach out to legislators and other public officials to discuss issues that impact our parks!

 HB 288: HB288 proposes to prohibit the use of eminent domain to appropriate land for trails. The bill would require approval from cities or townships before eminent domain can be used for a trail. The bill, and its included emergency clause, stem from a case in Mill Creek Metro Park in Northeast Ohio, where residents have opposed turning over land for a trail.

Our Position: Friends of Metro Parks stands with Summit Metro Parks to oppose this bill and amendment for these reasons:

  • The amendment would subject O.R.C. 1545 park districts decisions to the decisions of other governmental entities setting a dangerous precedent;
  • The amendment would subject the eminent domain process to a political authority;
  • Local control already exists with the probate judge having the current authority to appoint park commissioners; and,
  • The ultimate local control already exists because park districts must periodically face voters in order to receive continuing funding for operations.

The possibility of eminent domain is used primarily as a tool to bring property owners back to the conversation; as a way to facilitate and continue the negotiations. It is used as a last resort only. If this bill is passed, the impact could include major delays to trail development or it could completely stop trail development projects with a negative impact on a currently thriving recreation and transportation amenity.

The trails we have in Summit Metro Parks are immensely popular with 100,000+ visitors annually. We currently have three other trails underway because communities want to connect to the Towpath Trail, and others, and have asked us to assist in the development.

Land and Water Conservation Fund: LWCF represents up to $900 million in royalties paid by energy companies to drill on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) each year. The money has been used for the creation and protection of national parks, areas around rivers and lakes, national forests, and national wildlife refuges. Additionally, it has provided matching grants for state and local parks and recreation projects. (though much of the funds have been diverted elsewhere) 

Summit Metro Parks has received LWCF grants for many projects over the years including for the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm and Silver Creek Metro Park. These funds have greatly added to our park district, and future funds could do the same.

Congress let LWCF expire.  Sign the letter to encourage permanent renewal!  Tell your representatives to vote for permament renewal!


Endangered Species Act: (Sept., 2018) There have been several proposed rule changes to the Endangered Species Act. In the U.S. Senate, a discussion draft includes many sections that would set back the Endangered Species Act. In the U.S. House, a range of bills have been introduced. Of note, is a rule change that would require a cost/benefit analysis to INDUSTRY for the listing of threatened and endangered species. 
Our Position:  Aligning with our partner, Summit Metro Parks, we feel this is unacceptable. We stand next to Summit Metro Parks to oppose changes to the ESA as currently proposed in the discussion draft in the U.S. Senate. The Endangered Species protects our wildlife and biodiversity. As perfectly put by Lisa King, Executive Director of Summit Metro Parks and Mike Johnson, Chief of Conservation in their letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: "The value of our natural resources, especially the rich array of species, is priceless."

The Gorge Dam: Friends of Metro Parks fully supports the effort to remove the Gorge Dam in Gorge Metro Park.

Summit Metro Parks is a partner in this effort. In 2009 and 2011, USEPA conducted studies that showed the Gorge Dam pool contained 832,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment. In 2015, Ohio EPA commissioned a study on the alternatives and costs of removing the sediment and demolishing the dam. 

The USEPA and Ohio EPA have signed a formal agreement legitimizing the project and opening up all of the pathways to seek and acquire funding. Currently, $1.5 million is in hand including $750,000 in state funds (secured through the help of Senator Frank LaRose).  This will fund the engineering phase of the project which will take about 1 ½ years. 

Currently, the dam has no function, supports no jobs and is one of the largest unresolved water quality problems on the Cuyahoga River. Its future is absent of any real prospects. In contrast, removing the dam will:

  • Restore water quality in the gorge area of the Cuyahoga River
  • Improve the health of human and natural resources by removing toxic sediments from the dam pool
  • Restore Gorge Metro Park to the historic natural grandeur of its location
  • Exhume and restore the Great Falls of the Cuyahoga River
  • Amplify land and water-based recreational opportunities related to the dramatic topography of the gorge
  • Bolster Northeast Ohio as a tourism destination by linking with other major attractions, CVNP, area Metro Parks, Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail and other institutional magnets
  • Showcase the cultural and natural significance of the gorge and its intriguing history
  • Create a 2.5 mile white water course for expert paddlers, unique in Ohio
  • Support economic development generated from expanded tourism, recreation and education

* some text taken directly from Summit Metro Parks letter to Friends of Metro Parks signed by Elaine Marsh, dated July 13, 2016

 Friends of Metro Parks position statement


Deer Management: Metro Parks is charged with managing natural resources, and a balance must be maintained between a healthy deer population and a healthy ecosystem. Friends of Metro Parks fully supports the park district's deer-density reduction plan, which has received approval from the Ohio Division of Wildlife, and similar methods have proven successful in other parks throughout Ohio and the United States. All harvested animals are processed and given to the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank. More

 Recent issues, fought and won:

HB 49, State Budget Bill: The house budget bill included a provision to allow public entities to be included in an oil and gas "unit". They wanted to make it possible for a public entity (including a park) to be placed in a unit against its will and without any process - if enough adjacent property owners agree to be part of the unit. We called, emailed, faxed and wrote letters to our representatives. We informed our membership and gave them tools to contact their representatives as well. We wrote letters to the editor and posted information on social media. This provision was removed from the budget before it passed!



Ohio Legislators

Senator Frank LaRose (R), District 27
Senate Building
1 Capitol Square, 2nd Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
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Senator Vernon Sykes (D), District 28
Senate Building
1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
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State Rep Anthony DeVitis (R), District 36
77 S. High St., 11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
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State Rep Tavia Galonski (D), District 35
77 S. High St., 10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
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State Rep Emilia Sykes (D), District 34
77 S. High St., 10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
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State Rep Kristina Roegner (R), District 37
77 S. High St., 11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
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State Rep Marilyn Slaby (R), District 38
77 S. High St., 11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
ph:614-644-5085; 330-864-8477
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House of Representatives

The Honorable Marcia Fudge (D)
11th District
House of Representatives
2344 Rayburn HOB
Washington D.C. 20515
email through website

The Honorable Tim Ryan (D)
13th District
House of Representatives
1421 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
email through website

The Honorable David P. Joyce (D)
14th District
House of Representatives
1535 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
email through website

The Honorable Jim Renacci (R)
16th District
House of Representatives
130 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
email through website


Senator Sherrod Brown
713 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
ph: 202-224-2315
fax: 202-228-6321
email through website

Senator Rob Portman
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
ph: 202-224-3353
Email through website