City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Better Weather? Hike Together!

Stark Parks Has So Much to Offer That You’ll Have Activities to Explore the Rest of the Year

Article by Chris Watson

Photography by Stark Parks

Originally published in Canton Lifestyle

The ice and snow retreat, vitality rushes back into the world, and those of us less suited for arctic pursuits can once more frolic into Nature’s grandeur to explore our environment. If you’re looking for new adventures, try checking out the beautiful blooms, furtive fauna and sublime scenery of Stark Parks. Public Relations Coordinator Jared Shive spoke with us about what makes springtime in Stark Parks special.

With 17 years of dedicated service, Jared is a fervent believer in Stark Park’s mission to preserve, manage and connect the natural world around us, all while providing recreation, conservation and education to our community. He also believes that spring in the parks brings with it an aura of optimism.

“People may have been more willing to head outside during the last few winters, but longer intervals of warm days signal that a change is arriving,” says Jared.

Before long, the docks are speckled with fishermen, playgrounds come alive with children, and bike racks show up on incoming vehicles. Jared suggests cyclists investigate the southern portion of the Towpath trail running through Navarre to the Tuscarawas County line.

“The river weaves in and out of view as you pass turns and small hills in the trail. It's a beautiful ride in any season.”

Nipping at the heels of milder weather and lengthening daylight come more outdoor events held by the park system for Stark residents and visitors alike to enjoy. Among them is April 30th’s Jack Cullen Towpath Trail Trout Derby held at the Lock 4 trailhead, a tradition in the park for more than 50 years. This children’s event kicks off a series of other fishing derbies for all ages, including the Richard Fry Memorial Catfish Derby on May 14 and the Pep Tamargo Berkley Derby on May 21.

“Prizes are awarded for the free event,” says Jared, “but really it’s about the time spent together and enjoying the hobby.”

Always a fun and fascinating visit, the Wildlife Conservation Center at Sippo Lake Park is where staff work diligently to heal and release injured wildlife. The center also houses animals incapable of surviving on their own, appointing them ambassadors for their species. The indoor atrium and outdoor enclosures with live exhibits are free to tour Monday through Saturday.

The parks host a variety of guided hikes, kayaking programs, history tours, summer camps, archery events, birding and wildlife programs, volunteer opportunities and concerts to make the most of your spring and summer. The best way to find addresses, hours of operation and upcoming events, along with critical information like flooding and trail closures, is to visit You can also visit the Exploration Gateway at Sippo Lake Park or call 330.477.3552.

“Stark Parks exists for citizens and visitors to enjoy,” says Jared. “There is so much competition for our time, but we believe that getting outside adds value to your day and life. Get here when you can! We are open daily 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. with free admission to 15 parks, four lakes and more than 120 miles of trails across Stark County.”