Social Distancing with Park Walks & Online Life

Blog Date
Stuart O. Smith, Jr.

Julie demonstrates -- "Do your part! Stay 6 feet apart! Please help us to keep our parks open!"
Enlarge Image

Looking for humor and creativity on the Twitterverse, and visiting parks while social distancing is what my life mainly consists of currently. There is also a lot of sadness about plans being canceled, but my family has been fortunate to have had no illness or death. I try to support those that I see online that are making a difference in our community.

While no day of COVID-19 social distancing is the same, the typical day often contains the following elements:


What follows are my @sos_jr tweets and retweets sharing my experience visiting local parks, and my online life during these coronavirus crisis times. Please take the time to retweet what you find interesting, amusing, or interesting.  Thank you for sharing!!


Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - North Chagrin Reservation - Cleveland Metroparks - Be Safe in the Park!!



Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - Euclid Creek Reservation - Cleveland Metroparks

Follow Euclid Creek Valley along 2.5 miles of interesting geology along this verdant corridor, from Quarry Picnic Area to Highland Picnic Area. Historic points of interest include former Bluestone quarries, CCC camp, and Euclid Beach Park. As the creek flows northward to Lake Erie, so does the reservation.



Friday, April 3, 2020 - Port of Cleveland's Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve and Edgewater Park - Cleveland Metroparks

A unique urban wildlife haven on Lake Erie

The original shoreline at the site was part of the land William Gordon willed to the City of Cleveland in 1896 for use as a public park (now Gordon Park). In 1962, two old freighters were sunk offshore to create a breakwall to protect the park's beach. During this time it was not uncommon for solid waste to be dumped along the lakeshore. The waste eventually formed an approximately 10-acre area between the sunken freighters and the shoreline. The Preserve's land mass began taking shape in the late 1970's as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) disposed of sediment dredged from the Cuyahoga River in a walled-off area that juts out from the Lake Erie shoreline. The USACE placed sediment in a confined disposal facility (CDF) called Dike 14 from 1979-1999 as part of its program to dredge the Cuyahoga River. THe USACE designed the contours of Dike 14 to encompass the entire area. Over the years, layers of sediment - essentially sand, soil and clay - were placed within the walls of Dike 14, After the USACE stopped using Dike 14 as a CDF nature took hold, and with very little human intervention, the peninsula became filled with plants, trees and shrubs that attracted diverse species of birds and other wildlife. - now known as the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (CLNP).

The CLNP is 88-acres and has three trails consisting of 2.5 miles total. The area contains a diverse mix of habitats including grasslands, a forest area, meadows, mudflats, shrublands and wetlands. Over time, researchers and other visitors have identified:

  • 280 species of birds
  • 42 species of butterflies
  • 16 species of mammals
  • 2 species of reptiles
  • 26 Ohio plant species (including wildflowers & grasses)
  • 9 species of trees and shrubs

The Port of Cleveland Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve is located behind the Cleveland Metroparks Lakefront Office.


Julie and I ended the day at Cleveland Metroparks Edgewater Park.

The 147 acre Edgewater Park is the westernmost park in Cleveland Metroparks Lakefront Reservation. Edgewater Park features 9000 feet of shoreline, dog and swim beaches, boat ramps, fishing pier, picnic areas and grills and a rentable pavilion.



Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - Henry Church, Jr., Rock - Cleveland Metroparks

This long-term ephemeral landmark is a piece of cultural history immersed in nature by the riverside. Blacksmith, spiritualist, and artist Henry Church carved the images in the rock, dating the piece in 1885. Visit the rock, and you'll discover many images, which include an eagle, shield, papoose, woman, quiver, and others. The sandstone rock itself stands, a weathering testament to the early settlement in Bentleyville-Solon.



"The Song That Never Ends"



Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - Edgewater Park - Cleveland Metroparks






Zero Day Resupply



Weird Al Yankovic



April 9th Sad Emails



Friday, April 10, 2020 - Station Road Bridge - Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Station Road Bridge straddles a gorgeous expanse of the CVNP system; it’s a famous landmark of the entire park and makes for a great photo opportunity. But there is far more to this stretch than a click-and-go. Buckeye Trail weaves in and out of the Valley like a snake; many of the stops are among the most picturesque to be had in all of Northeast Ohio. Trekkers wanting to stay longer will find the Stanford House and campsites available for overnight stays.
The Station Road Bridge, near Brecksville, Ohio, was built in 1882. It spans the Cuyahoga River between Cuyahoga County and Summit County, Ohio. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.



Greater Cleveland Food Bank Receives $500,000 Donation



First Month!!



"Can't stop laughing!!"



Ohio Department of Health PSA



Rare Earth Get Ready



Sunday, April 12, 2020 - Lake View Cemetery


In 1869, Lake View’s founders used horticulture as an integral part of their cemetery planning process. In doing so, they created a showcase of trees and shrubbery, cultivated for scientific, ornamental and educational purposes – an arboretum in every aspect of the word.

Famous People

Even though the cities of Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, and East Cleveland have grown up around what was once open country side, the rural atmosphere that existed when Lake View was founded in 1869 continues to be preserved and cultivated. Lake View is a memorial to those who built our community, from titans of industry and civic leaders, to immigrant laborers and descendants of slaves.


On Friday, April 17, 2020, as I was gathering information for this blog post, I saw the following tweets where I learned a new fact about Lake View Cemetery:



Northeast Ohio's Vibrant Food Scene is at Great Risk!!



Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - Bridal Veil Falls - Cleveland Metroparks

A short walk along Deerlick Creek, down the boardwalk and steps, leads to a gorgeous view of Bridal Veil Falls.These cascading waterfalls are surrounded by hardwoods and hemlocks. This is a very popular photo spot.



Cleveland Cleveland Library Creates 2,000 Face Shields!!



"You are one of my favorite people on this highway"



Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - North Chagrin Reservation - Cleveland Metroparks

Since the 1920s, North Chagrin Reservation has been a special combination of outdoor recreation areas and wildlife sanctuaries. North Chagrin trails and picnic areas feature woodlands and wetlands as important characteristics of this large reservation. Located in Mayfield Village, Willoughby Hills and Gates Mills, the reservation includes a nature center and nature education building. Sanctuary Marsh and Sunset Pond are both popular areas to observe waterfowl, and Squire’s Castle is an interesting historical site. The reservation is also home to Manakiki Golf Course, located off SOM Center and Eddy roads in Willoughby Hills.



Ohio has Flattened The Curve!!



Next Phase of Business Dealing with Coronavirus Crisis



IRS Economic Impact Payments



All Day Long (The Coronavirus Song) by Chloe Langford



Stayin' Inside - Coronavirus Bee Gees Parody



"Drink Wine and Hang Out with My Dog!"



Friday, April 17, 2020 - Beartown Lakes Reservation - Geauga Park District

This 149-acre park features more than 22 acres of open water and a mature beech-maple forest. Three trails total 2.8 miles. Recreation areas include a playground, horseshoe pits, bocce court and tetherball, plus a sledding hill for those winter months.

Beartown Lakes Reservation Trails

Lake Trail – 0.7 – asphalt

  • Accessible trails
  • Cross country skiing
  • Hiking, walking & running
Beechnut Trail – 0.6 – gravel
  • Cross country skiing
  • Hiking, walking & running

Whitetail Trail – 1.5 – gravel

  • Cross country skiing
  • Hiking, walking & running
  • Horseback riding

On April 17th, Julie and I did not expect to be hiking in the snow and seeing kids sledding! It was exciting to have an owl fly over our heads, and see eastern bluebirds.



Biography of Jerrie Mock



May Dugan Center Promotes Voting!



Akron-Summit County Public Library

This was so good, I needed to share. Look at the titles of the books!!

Thank you, Akron-Summit County Public Library!



SpongeBob SquarePants



Libraries -- Making a BIG Difference During This Crisis!



Cleveland Food Bank Has Seen a 30% Increase in New Clients



Social Distance! VOTE!!!



Currently Fortunate to be Able to Help Cleveland Food Bank



Cleveland Art BINGO!



May Dugan Center Food Distribution



How PCT Hikers are Coping



Sad Announcement! Cleveland GiveCamp #CleGC 2020 has been Postponed!! crying

I have volunteered at Cleveland GiveCamp Weekend since it started in 2010. In 2020, I continue to serve on the Cleveland GiveCamp Steering Committee for my tenth year. Please learn more about this weekend of providing free tech solutions to local nonprofits by reading some of my Cleveland GiveCamp blog posts.



". . . being bored is a luxury.”



Akron-Summit County Public Library - Download eBooks on OverDrive



Monday, April 20, 2020 - Blossoming Cherry Trees at Brookside Reservation - Cleveland Metroparks

Brookside Reservation was one of the City of Cleveland's oldest neighborhood parks before its acquisition by Cleveland Metroparks in 1993. The land was purchased in 1894 and has been a center for recreation since the early 1900s. Still a recreation hub, the area now boasts baseball and soccer/football fields. The 132-acre reservation serves as a refuge for diverse wildlife in an urban setting. It is also an attractive spot for area picnickers and a resting site for walkers, cyclists and others who use the All Purpose Trail. This reservation connects to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Posted: April 8, 2015

Every spring the people of Japan watch eagerly for the blossoming of the cherry trees, sakura.   The Japanese Weather Service offers a “sakura front” watch, complete with maps that trace the spreading pink from the island of Okinawa in the South to the island of Hokkaido in the North. Some people travel to enjoy flower viewing, “hanami,” at a spot away from home the way some Ohioans travel to New England for fall foliage.  But most people simply enjoy the show in their own town or city.  Friends and families gather under the canopy of a blossoming tree for picnics.  As at any good party, food, drink and music abound.  But there is a deeper cultural bond in Japan with these beautiful trees.

. . .

Thanks to the generous spirit of the Japanese Association of Northeast Ohio (JANO), over one hundred Yoshino cherry trees bloom every spring in Cleveland Metroparks Brookside Reservation.  The first trees were planted in the 1990s with others added since that time.  Now you can enjoy a hanami picnic of your own beneath one of these trees as they put on their show.  Or maybe just pick a spot under a tree, sit quietly by yourself and contemplate the brief, but beautiful, life of a cherry blossom.


In 2018, I learned from tweets by Etsuko Dunham (@endunham), Danielle Garbo (@DanielleGarbo), and Kelly Manderfield (@KManderfield) about some incredibly beautiful Japanese cherry tree blossoms in the Cleveland Metroparks' Brookside Reservation, which adjacent the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The Japanese Association of Northeast Ohio donated the trees to the park. Please read more in my blog post:

Thank you, Cleveland Metroparks, for sending me the Twitter direct message confirming that the cherry trees were in bloom. Your message is appreciated and led to a fun day in the park.



Monday, April 20, 2020 - Fine Arts Garden & Wade Lagoon - University Circle

Adjoining the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Garden features the picturesque Wade Lagoon, perfect for a leisurely stroll, family picnic, or even a wedding in University Circle. Take in the breathtaking sights of University Circle including the historic Epworth-Euclid United Methodist Church, as well as the many sculptures and monuments throughout the Garden.

I highly recommend reading the full Cleveland Museum of Art Find the Art among the Cherry Blossoms article, since it describes the artworks located around Wade Lagoon. The article opens with:

Find the Art among the Cherry Blossoms
Cleveland Museum of Art
Apr 17, 2020

The two global pandemics that forced the closure of the Cleveland Museum of Art came in different seasons. The 1918 flu forced the museum to close for three weeks in October and November. In those chilling days, people drew hope from a cease-fire of World War I’s bloodshed and from traditional holidays of harvest thanksgiving.

Now the social isolation forced by the COVID-19 crisis comes as spring days grow brighter and warmer. The weeping Japanese cherry trees surrounding Wade Lagoon have opened their blossoms of pink and white. Their color is one of the heralds of spring in Cleveland, and many call this area south of the museum the most beautiful spot in the city. A visit to the Fine Arts Garden at a safe social distance affirms the past spring seasons at the CMA and all the spring seasons to come.

Learn more about University Circle in my many blog posts about this great Cleveland cultural center by clicking here.



Fortune Cookie



Tuesday, April 21, 2020 - The Buckeye Trail

The Buckeye Trail. . .

For nearly 1444 miles, the Buckeye Trail winds around Ohio, reaching into every corner of the state. From a beachhead on Lake Erie near Cleveland, to a hilltop overlooking the Ohio River in Cincinnati, a hiker can experience a little of all that Ohio has to offer.

First envisioned in the late 1950's as a trail from the Ohio River to Lake Erie, the Buckeye Trail evolved into a large loop, branching both north and east from Cincinnati. The separate legs rejoin in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Cleveland, and complete the trip to the lake. Because it is a loop, it is also in essence, endless. You may start a hike at any point and hike as long as you want without ever reaching an end!

The Buckeye Trail Association . . .

The Buckeye Trail Association is a large, strong body of volunteers who maintain and promote the trail. Though the entire route is marked, the Buckeye Trail continues to change and improve. The BTA looks for ways to move road sections off the roads, and to upgrade those off-road sections to high quality trail.

If you do a search for "Buckeye Trail" in my blog posts (by clicking here), you will see that I mention this trail often. With The Buckeye Trail reaching all corners of the state, Ohio has the longest trail within any one state -- many people don't know this fact about Ohio!

I have been doing sections of the The Buckeye Trail's "Little Loop," and plan to eventually complete the over-250-Mile loop in northeast Ohio.



Earth Day 2020

50th anniversary of Earth Day! Unfortunately, this special year can't be celebrated with large crowds of supporters, due to the coronavirus crisis.

The Cleveland Earth Day Coalition (@EarthDay_CLE) used to host "Ohio's largest environmental education event and the longest running Earth Day celebration in the nation," but they closed their doors in 2017. Learn more about their Earth Day Earthfest events in my blog posts by clicking here.



Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - Pete's Pond Preserve - Lake Metroparks & Wickliffe City Schools

A partnership between Wickliffe City Schools and Lake Metroparks makes this park possible through a cooperative endeavor; the school district owns the property and for $1, the park district leases and manages it for ten years. The convenient location and quality of this natural area make it an ideal site for land lab studies and school field trips for students of all ages.

The park name comes from a former landowner and the 19-acre pond that was constructed sometime between 1947 and 1951.



Shanelle Smith Whigham, Ohio Director, The Trust for Public Land

I had heard of the Trust for Public Land's work for years, but I did not know of their work in Ohio, and more specifically, in Cleveland. In 2018, I was fortunate to learn about Shanelle Smith Whigham's work in Cleveland at the Cleveland Foundation's Common Ground 2018 - “Why Does Place Matter?” (click here to read blog post) at the The Trust for Public Land's Cleveland Office. I highly recommend following @ShanelleLSmith on Twitter for the latest on what is happening with the work of @tpl_org in our community.



Related Blog Posts

It is sad to think that most of the places I normally write about at are currently closed. I have written this blog post and the two listed below to capture how life is continuing during this coronavirus crisis:


During this time period, I have also been attending some online Facebook Live events about trails that I plan to share in my next social distancing blog post.  If you want to see the videos now, please see the links to the Facebook Live events via my @sos_jr tweets about:


Stay well!