Headwaters Park Geauga County District Hiking Trail Pictures
Headwaters Park in Ohio is a 926-acre reservation located in Claridon and Huntsburg Townships. The park is leased by Geauga Park District from the City of Akron in a partnership that allows for conservation of the natural areas, enjoyment by park visitors, and improved outdoor education and recreation opportunities, while protecting water quality for aquatic life and downstream neighbors.
Residents of Headwaters park include bald eagles, osprey, great blue herons, and loons. Boating is available with a 1.5 hp electric motor limit. Large mouth bass, pike, bluegill, and crappie fishing are features of the park which also includes a section of the Buckeye Trail.
Prior to 1932, the east branch of the Cuyahoga River meandered through a lush ravine as it made its way through Claridon and Huntsburg. Picnickers enjoyed many a summer's afternoon along its banks, vacationers escaped to cottages nestled around adjacent Crystal Lake and along the river's edge.
When the City of Akron purchased 7,000 acres of land in Geauga County in 1932, the cottages and neighboring farmhouses were moved and a dam was built to impound the waters in the East Branch Reservoir. The Durkee stone house, built in the 1800's is located south of the dam and remains in use as a private residence.
Having secured a stable water supply for the businesses and homes in their community, City of Akron officials opened the reservoir and surrounding land to local residents, permitting camping, fishing, hiking, and other recreational activities from 1959 through the early 1990's. Through the years, protection of the watershed has remained a priority when determining the types of activities that would be permitted.
Geauga Park District Commissioners signed an agreement to lease the East Branch Reservoir area in 1996, renaming the facility Headwaters Park in honor of its location at the upper reaches of the Cuyahoga River. Since May 1996, the park has been reopened for biking, fishing, picnicking and boating. Future facilities to be added at Headwaters Park are currently being considered.
Beech-maple forests, meadows, and evergreen plantations surround the waters of East Branch Reservoir, home to populations of wild turkey, fox, mink, and owls. Abundant wildflowers carpet the forest floor in spring.
Headwaters Park is a popular stop-over for migrating waterfowl in the spring and fall when bird watchers are likely to see loons, tundra swans, and many types of ducks. Bald eagles and osprey have been spotted soaring over the reservoir as cormorants sun themselves in the trees on the islands. Sandpipers and plovers visit the reservoir in late summer.
Visit website hikingohioparks.com for more detailed information about Headwaters park and many other hiking Ohio park trails. Get the DVD loaded with higher quality pictures and maps.
As part of the Cuyahoga River watershed, protection of East Branch Reservoir from sediment (as well as other pollutants) benefits much of Geauga County's water supply. Swamps, marshes, and bogs, as well as other wetlands and bodies of water, are vital to the recharge of underground aquifers. They provide both flood control benefits and important habitat for a diverse group of plants and animals. Since a watershed includes all of the land that drains to a river, it is important to remember that the runoff and pollutants that enter the water supply upstream affect the water quality for all inhabitants downstream. For this reason, sound water quality protection practices and education will always be an integral part of the management of Headwaters Park.
More than 3 miles of the Buckeye Trail wind along the western shore of the East Branch Reservoir for hikers and bicyclists to explore. The eastern shore is designated as a wildlife preserve, and is accessible for park programs only. Bicycles are permitted on the Buckeye Trail only. We ask your cooperation to protect the quality of the water in the reservoir and throughout the watershed.
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