COVID-19 Updates and Cancellations

Stark Parks will be making adjustments to current services based on the recommendations of the Governor’s office and availability of safety supplies.  Openings of services will be tiered, based on future recommendations and the ability to provide a safe, quality visit to parks and trails.

“We have the responsibility to be as safe as possible, while still providing users with the best services we can offer. With more facilities opening up, visitors will notice an increase in our efforts to provide a clean and safe experience.  We’re taking everything into consideration, from the frequency of use of the facilities and high-touch areas, to how our staff can safely disinfect areas for the next person and whether or not we can keep safety supplies adequately stocked.  Stark Parks is full of ways for people to safely enjoy the outdoors. We ask for visitor’s patience as we adjust to daily changes,” said Bob Fonte, Park Director.

Park and Trail Visitors

All parks and trails are open as long as physical distancing practices of greater than 6 ft continues.  Masks are recommended.  Playgrounds remain closed.

Restrooms

Beginning Friday, May 22, 2020, select restrooms, including permanent and temporary port-a-johns, will be available at most Stark Parks and trails.   Stark Parks is increasing the frequency of restroom cleaning and disinfecting, but encourages visitors to limit restroom use to emergencies only.

Supplies such as toilet paper, soap, and hand sanitizer will be filled regularly, but visitors should consider coming prepared with hand sanitizers and any additional personal needs.  Visitors are permitted to bring their own toilet paper, however, disposable wipes should never be used and placed in toilets, including port-a-johns.

Restroom building locations include: Sippo Lake Marina, Exploration Gateway, Fry Family Park shelter, Walborn Marina, Lake Ave. Trailhead on the Towpath Trail, and three pit toilets at Quail Hollow Park.

Porta-john locations include: Deer Creek Reservoir, Fry Family Park, Mahoning Valley Trail (Gaskill Rd.), Molly Stark Park, Petros Lake Park, Sippo Valley Trail (Skyland Trailhead), Tam O’Shanter Park, Walborn Reservoir (Reeder Ave.), Towpath Trail Trailheads (Lock 4, Butterbridge, Crystal Springs, Bridgeport Quarry, John Glenn Grove, Craig Pittman, and Canal Bend), and Whitacre Greer Park.

Camping Sites

Stark Parks has two primitive camping sites. Neither is permitted for drive-in campers.

Quail Hollow Park’s group camping site will remain closed, per the requirements of the Governor’s office, until further notice.

The River’s Edge Campsite, located at Bridgeport Quarry Trailhead along the Towpath Trail in Massillon, is open for hiker/biker in-tent camping for single participants/families.  This campsite is designated specifically for trail travelers looking for short-term stays.   Reservations are not required, but visitors must call 330.353.2377 when they arrive to check in with the Park Ranger.

Marinas

All public ramps and fishing areas have been, and will remain, open for visitor’s use.  Social distancing is required.  Docks and smaller areas must abide by 6 feet distancing, at a minimum. Food, bait, and rental services will remain closed and will be re-evaluated June 30, 2020.

Staff are currently weighing options to open full-service marinas that would allow staff to safely and efficiently serve all patrons with required distancing, as well as proper cleansing of all rental equipment, such as life jackets.  Enterprise supervisor, Steve Smith explains, “ We don’t want to open just to open. We want to do it to the best of our abilities and safely. Right now we couldn’t give our customers the safe experience they’re use to and that’s what we’re focusing on now.”

Public and Volunteer Programs

Public programs have been cancelled through June 30, 2020. Any registration fees for programs scheduled will be refunded.

Facilities and Rentals

The following facilities are closed to the public:

  • Administrative offices are staffed, but not open to the public, to continue services and will comply with physical distancing requirements.
  • Exploration Gateway (5712 12th St. NW, Canton, Ohio 44708)
  • Wildlife Conservation Center  (800 Genoa Ave. NW, Massillon, Ohio 44646) Injured and orphaned wildlife are accepted on a limited basis at this time.  Please call 330-477-0448 for details on how to bring your animal in. Please do not take animals to the center without calling first.  Masks are required while in the wildlife viewing area outside the Wildlife Conservation Center for the protection of the staff and wildlife.
  • Quail Hollow Park Nature Center and Manor House (13480 Congress Lake Ave. Hartville, Ohio 44632)
  • Sippo Lake and Walborn Reservoir Marinas (Fishing licenses are available at www.takemefishing.org)
  • All reservable shelters

Reservations scheduled between now and June 30 will be offered an opportunity to reschedule or receive a refund. No fees will be taken for new reservations.

Park Rangers continue standard patrols and can be reached at 330-353-2377.  Stark Parks will continue to follow guidance provided by all federal, state and local health authorities.  For general information, please call (330) 477-3552. Continue to check this page for the most up-to-date information, or follow us at Facebook.com/starkparks.

Spending time immersed in nature will hopefully offer reprieve from the complexities of our world right now. While we are encouraging preventative action, including social distancing and self-monitoring, visiting outdoor spaces is a safe way to get out of your home, expend some energy, clear your head, and refresh yourself.

Get Outside On Your Own