In 1961 Judge Robert Ford signed the statute to create the Geauga Park District.

Since that time our parks have been lauded as some of the best preserved properties in Ohio and have welcomed visitors from across the country to spend time walking, photographing, studying and just enjoying the preservation and conservation of these natural resources.

Our parks are special. They host the headwaters of three rivers, the Cuyahoga, the Chagrin and the Grand and are home to vulnerable or rare populations of flora and fauna.

Is it OK to have some recreational activities in the parks, along with the natural passive activites? Sure it is.

But in the past eight years the balance has changed, with a focus from the Park Commissioners on making money from park activities, whether it is renting equipment or reserving lodges or shelters.

The commissioners that have served in this past time period have overwhelmingly used the term “we need to use the parks” rather than we need to “preserve” or “appreciate” them.

The parks were formed for the latter reason.

I hope that the current commissioners can use their position to shift the balance back to a focus on preservation, conservation and protection.

I hope that the current commissioners will be brave enough to open meetings to public comment and transparency.

I hope that the parks can go back to quietly enhancing our county without contention and drama, returning to places of refuge, appreciation and renewal.

Ms. Partington is a resident of Munson Township and serves as president of Protect Geauga Parks.

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