Erie MetroParks was formed as the "Erie County Metropolitan Park District" in 1968 and adopted its current name in 1991. At this time, it consists of 13 individual park areas located throughout Erie County, Ohio covering approximately 3254 acres/1316.84 hectares.
It was organized under the provisions of the Ohio Revised Code, Section 1545, as a separate political division of the state of Ohio. Erie MetroParks is overseen by a Board of Park Commissioners consisting of three members appointed to three-year terms by Judges of the Probate Court and Common Pleas Court of Erie County.
"Under the provisions of the Ohio Revised Code, the mission of Erie MetroParks is to preserve, conserve, protect, and enhance the natural and unique historical resources of the park district. Further, to provide opportunities for visitors and residents to use, enjoy, understand and appreciate these resources in a responsible, sustainable manner."
List of Parks and their locations
- East Sandusky Bay Preserve MetroPark, (1,463.82 acres/592.38 hectares, total) including:
- Joseph Steinen Wildlife Area (155 acres/62.73 hectares), purchased in 2003. Includes the official Erie County Ohio Bicentennial Barn, one of 88 barns painted with a special graphic design commemorating the 200th anniversary of Ohio statehood in 2003. A new farm animal park called "The Barnyard" is also located at the Bicentennial Barn. Open, with a primitive nature trail but with public access limited during special youth hunting seasons.
- Putnam Marsh Nature Preserve (965.55 acres/390.74 hectares), is a protected natural area because of its importance as one of the last undeveloped naturally functioning marshes on the southern Lake Erie shoreline and is a critical habitat area for many plants and animals. Also purchased in 2003, with limited public access at this time.
- Community Foundation Preserve at Eagle Point (88.4 acres/35.77 hectares), a wooded area so named because it is the location of at least two bald eagle nest sites. Access to this park is restricted during the bald eagle nesting season, but open to the public at all other times.
- Wyandot Wetland Meadows Preserve (84 acres/33.99 hectares), the newest park area purchased in 2006. Park open by permit only.
- Osborn MetroPark (171 acres/69.2 hectares), the first park developed by Erie MetroParks on the former Osborn State Prison Honor Farm, dedicated in 1975. Picnic shelters, a playground, soccer fields and baseball diamonds are available here along with walking trails and community gardens. The Frost Center building serves as the Park District headquarters and holds community meeting rooms. The operation department offices are located at the Maple Grove Center along with the "Erie MetroBark Park," a fenced, off-leash dog exercise area on the Hull Road side of the park.
-In addition, Erie MetroParks jointly manages the "East Sandusky Bay Extension", adjacent to the Community Foundation Preserve, the location of the former Sandusky Drive-in theater (torn down in 2007), with the City of Sandusky.
Located on the campus of BGSU Firelands, Rye Beach Road in Huron:
- James H. McBride Arboretum (57 acres/23.06 hectares), Created in 1984, the arboretum was named in honor of Dr. James H. McBride, the first Dean of Firelands College. Managed for BGSU Firelands by Erie MetroParks.
Located South of Huron, along the Huron River:
- DuPont Marsh State Nature Preserve (104 acres/42.08 hectares), owned by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and managed by Erie MetroParks.
- Huron River Greenway MetroPark (north), a rail trail constructed on an abandoned Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway line. The northern trailhead is in Huron Township and shares its parking lot and entrance with the DuPont Marsh State Nature Preserve.
Pelton Park Drive, off Hull Road, Perkins Township:
- Pelton Park (20 acres/8.09 hectares), a small wooded park surrounded by residential and commercial development. Owned by Perkins Township, managed by Erie MetroParks
-In addition, a portion of the Putnam Marsh Nature Preserve previously listed is also located in Perkins Township.
- The Coupling MetroPark (20.46 acres/8.27 hectares), a combination of sloping and river bottom lands, including a seasonal boat launch on the Huron River; historic railroad freight cars converted to bunk houses and a historic Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway depot from Monroeville, Ohio as a kitchen and meeting room available for rental by the public.
Located at the foot of Old Main Street in the Village of Milan:
- Huron River Greenway MetroPark (south), follows the route of the former Milan Canal.
- Edison Woods MetroPark (1329.57 acres/538.05 hectares), once slated to become a nuclear power plant, this site is now an important ecological area. It is the largest single park in the Erie MetroParks system with over 7 miles/11 kilometers of trails. It also contains some of the last old growth forest in Erie County and former farm fields that are being restored to native prairie.
Located South of the Ohio Turnpike on Huff Road:
- Huffman Forest MetroPark (40 acres/16.19 hectares), consists of meadow-to-forest land in succession and mature forest plant communities.
- Castalia Quarry MetroPark (152 acres/61.51 hectares), formerly a limestone quarry, this once barren land is slowly returning to a natural state.
- Birmingham School MetroPark (3.28 acres/1.32 hectares), a small recreation park with a picnic ground and ball field. The location of the old Birmingham School building, demolished in 1986.
- Properties Owned and Managed by EMP 01/06
- EMP Publication 08/09
Descriptive information from web page entries and brochures of each park area available from the park district web page.