CLEVELAND METROPARKS, an extensive network of parklands in Cuyahoga and Medina counties, consists of 12 reservations: Huntington, Bradley Woods, Rocky River, Big Creek, Mill Stream Run, Hinckley, Brecksville, Bedford, Garfield Park, S. Chagrin, N. Chagrin, and Euclid Creek. In 1975 the district assumed responsibility for operation of the Cleveland Zoo, now called CLEVELAND METROPARKS ZOO. Together with a chain of parkways, these Metroparks virtually surround the city on the east, south, and west, giving rise to the nickname the "Emerald Necklace." The Park Dist. was the brainchild of WM. A. STINCHCOMB (1878-1959). Stinchcomb's efforts secured passage of state legislation permitting the establishment of park districts and the creation of the Cleveland Metropolitan Park Dist. as a separate subdivision of the State of Ohio. The district was created on 23 July 1917, and the first park property was acquired 2 years later. Stinchcomb was appointed director of the district in 1921 and served in that position until 1957. In its early years, the district concentrated its efforts on acquiring land before advancing values and private development placed it beyond reach. During the Depression, federal work projects contributed in a substantial way to the further development of the parks. The district's activities are directed by a Board of Park Commissioners consisting of 3 citizens appointed by the administrative judge of the Probate Court of Cuyahoga County. The district is financed by a tax levy on all real estate in the district and by miscellaneous receipts from district operations, such as golf-course greens fees. The district has acquired more than 18,500 acres of parkland since its inception. The policy of the Board of Park Commissioners has been to maintain the parklands in a natural state, limiting development to that consistent with conservation. Interpretive trails, bridle and hiking trails, park drives, picnic areas and shelterhouses, trailside interpretive centers, wildlife management areas, and swimming beaches are among the major developments in the district. In addition, the Park Dist. maintains 6 golf courses and leases 2 boarding stables to concessionaires.
Poh Miller, Carol. Cleveland Metroparks, Past and Present (1992).