The Geauga Park District is pleased to announce that four county parks this spring have been chosen by the Ohio Division of Wildlife for stocking of rainbow trout.
The Beartown Lakes Reservation’s Lower Bear Lake was chosen as part of ODOW’s initiative to put 80,000 cold-water fish into 71 ponds and public lakes which will be occurring appropriately on Earth Day, April 22.
“In addition to the ODOW’s stocking at Beartown, Geauga Park District will be conducting three of its own fish stockings this spring, but this particular stocking is happening courtesy of the ODOW and its state hatcheries, so to us they’re basically freebie fish,” said Park District Marketing Coordinator Sandy Ward.
Every year during the month of April schools, communities, and organizations around the world celebrate Earth Day which reminds everyone to be better stewards of the planet.
“We are excited to collaborate with Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Division of Wildlife on the stocking of rainbow trout at Beartown Lakes Reservation,” said Executive Director John Oros.
Beartown Lakes Reservation’s Lower Bear Lake is slated to receive 100 15-17-inch largemouth bass.
“The largest lake that is being stocked is well-suited for angling with good trails and access to the shoreline,” said Mr. Oros. “Some fishing piers are ADA accessible, and it is our hope that many of our Geauga residents will discover the opportunity to catch one of these beautiful rainbow trout.”
The Park District also announced that the Walter C. Best Wildlife Preserve in Chardon Township is slated to receive 200 12-inch yellow perch.
“Our Natural Resource Management Department will be working to stock largemouth bass and channel catfish in some of our ponds and lakes,” said Mr. Oros. “They will also be stocking yellow perch at Walter C. Best Wildlife Preserve.”
The Park District also announced that Orchard Hills Park in Chester Township and Claridon Woodlands in Claridon Township are both being given 100 8-12-inch largemouth bass and 50 6-8-inch bluegill.
In October or November, Lower Bear Lake is slated to receive a second round of fish-stocking, the lake will be receiving 200 12-plus-inch rainbow trout.
People with a current Ohio fishing license are welcome to catch and take fish from waterways in 12 Park District parks and can find real-time stocking notifications posted on the Park District’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
“It is a really nice opportunity and we have stocked those particular lakes down there for a number of years and one of the things that is always popular is trout fishing,” said Park Biologist and Natural Resource Manager Paul Pira. “We ourselves do some stocking in the fall usually down there.”
Last August, Mr. Pira gave a presentation on the Park District’s plans for stream restoration work at Veterans Legacy Woods that would create a habitat for endangered brook trout.
“Paul has been working with Ohio Division of Wildlife for many years on other projects,” said Mr. Oros. “This stocking is another example of a great collaborative relationship between organizations with similar missions to promote nature and our natural resources.”
When a 53-degree cold water stream was found at Veterans Legacy Woods, it provided a rare opportunity for the Park District and a perfect habitat for the brook trout, thought to have disappeared from Ohio.
The cold-loving, small-speckled brook trout is listed as a threatened species and has been making a return due to reintroduction and ecosystem restoration efforts.
Continuing with the celebration, on Saturday, April 23, the Park District has two special Earth Day drive-through events going on at Veterans Legacy Woods from noon to 2 p.m.
“Natural resource management staff will distribute live native plants and materials to cars registered for 15-minute time slots,” said Mrs. Ward. “As it was last year at The West Woods, registration for this event is completely full, so Geauga County residents are excited to partake.”
Mr. Pira said that it is a way to raise awareness and hand out native Ohio plants for people to put in their gardens.
“Most of them are going to be a lot of milkweed which is a host plant for monarch butterflies which are on the decline,” said Mr. Pira. “It’s just to raise awareness about using more wildlife friendly plants in your yard and native plants for landscaping.”
After the drive-through has concluded, local organization Donate a Tree to the World will be partnering with the Park District on a tree planting initiative at Veterans Legacy Woods.
“Anytime we can further our collaborations with like-minded organizations our local Geauga County community will benefit,” said Mr. Oros.
In December of 1970, Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970.
“We have been holding an Earth Day event the entire time,” said Mr. Oros. “Our Natural Resource Management and Naturalist staff are key to our Earth Day programs being successful.”