Summit Metro Parks includes 11,500 acres that span over 14 parks and more than 125 miles of trails. The parks also include 22.4 miles of the Ohio and Erie Canal.
Nate Eppink, chief of marketing and communications for Summit Metro Parks, shares some of the best spots for Fairlawn locals to head outdoors and explore nature.
“Sand Run Metro Park is not our biggest park, but it is our busiest. It accounts for more than 2 million visitors each year,” he says. “The trails here get a lot of use too. Sand Run is a good option as is the Nature Realm, which is just around the corner.”
Eppink’s trail of choice, the Jogging Trail, at Sand Run Metro Park, 1300 Sand Run Road, is a 6-mile path in a nearly 1,000-acre park. The most common reason for a visit to this park is for fitness — it makes for a perfect spot to jog, take the dog for a walk, meet up for yoga or just exercise with a friend.
“I am partial to the jogging trail at Sand Run,” Eppink says. “Whereas the Nature Realm gets people who want to enjoy a good hike or to learn and discover nature.”
The F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm, 1828 Smith Road, contains a 10,000-square-foot visitor’s center that often has new and changing exhibits, displays and programs. The park area has a host of trails to walk or hike on as well as gardens, ponds and some wetland area for families to explore.
During the warmer months, this area is busy with people taking advantage of the great outdoors. This park is also a place for people watching and it’s easily accessible from Fairlawn and the surrounding areas....
Life Is Good No Matter What is a local charity founded with the intention of giving adults with advanced cancer a break and escape from their battle and diagnosis.
Troy Haslinger, founder, created the Akron-based organization after his sister, Holly, lost her battle with advanced colon cancer in 2011. Holly’s motto, even when she was in the midst of her battle, was that “life is good no matter what.”
Inspired by her and by others like her, Haslinger decided that something needed to be done.
He says, “We spoke with cancer patients who said it would be nice to have an escape from the blood tests, the treatments and all the appointments. We want to celebrate life today. We’ve done 10 escapes so far.”
Brandi Gangel, a board member of the charity, explains, “We try to help cancer patients and their families forget, if only for a few hours or a few days, that cancer has taken center stage in their life.”
Board members’ efforts range from raising money and working with physicians who nominate recipients to planning a special event for that family that could be a trip, a nice dinner, an event, a concert or anything in between.
“We plan the trip, document the trip with the help of a photographer and provide the family with a photo book to accompany their memories,” Gangel says.
Physicians refer patients to the organization to be recipients of one of these fun memories.
“We have a wonderful board of directors and they just do a wonderful job,” Haslinger says. “We work really hard as a team to get the referrals from the medical oncologists and then we vote as a board. We have an application process and once the Northeast Ohio recipient is chosen, we call them up and we sit down with them and plan an escape....