2024 Fundraising Campaign Now Underway
Make an impact on Stark Parks' projects and programs like new water trailheads along the Tuscarawas River, accessible kayak launches, park conservation efforts like tree plantings and pollinator fields at Tam O’Shanter Park, or a Spotted Turtle tank upgrade at the Wildlife Conservation Center.It is your thoughtful gift that helps us fulfill funding for these great projects and so much more! 

Friends of Stark Parks

Tree trunk logo with leaves and Friends of Stark Parks at bottomFriends of Stark Parks (FSP) is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to promoting the development and use of Stark County Park District parks, trails, facilities, educational programs, and events in Stark County, Ohio.

FSP raises funds through memberships, donations, grants and several annual fundraisers. The FSP Board meets monthly to discuss responsible spending of the monies raised through these events.  Join the Friends of Stark Parks Facebook Group and be a part of the conversation.

Friends of Stark Parks group presenting check

Because of Your Support

Money raised from FSP supports a variety of supplemental projects in Stark Parks including:

  • Water Trail on the Tuscarawas River
  • A park-wide bench program
  • The planting of trees in various parks
  • Support of the Stark Exploring program
  • Support of the Dark Sky Initiative
  • An established Endowment Fund for the Joseph J. and Helen M. Sommer Wildlife Conservation Center at Sippo Lake Park

Healthy Adventures Now Part of Friends of Stark Parks

Healthy Adventures text with kayak, bicycle tire, ski poles, horseshoe, and hiking boot print icons

Healthy Adventures is now part of your Friends of Stark Parks members incentives beginning in 2024. Healthy Adventures has been a membership-based group of people (and pets on a leash) running, biking, and hiking on local trails that log mileage for individual and club goals. The initiative started over 12 years ago and brought people together to explore new places in Stark County and around NE Ohio for outdoor experiences.

With increased volunteer-led events by the FSP Board and many crossover members involved with both groups, the merge will bring more opportunities for FSP members and strengthen overall support and interest for Stark Parks.

Mileage can be tracked for hiking and running, biking, horseback riding, kayaking/canoeing, and cross-country skiing.

Here's to making 2024 a great year enjoying your Friends of Stark Parks membership and taking advantage of everything you can!

2024 Challenges

Short-term group challenges provide a chance to rally around a cause or have fun reaching a collective goal.  Participate in these 2024 activity challenges.  Please note that these miles will only count on Stark Parks trails.

Feb. and March 2024: Let's log 1,803 miles to celebrate Ohio’s birthday, representative of the year Ohio became a state.  View challenge progress.

June 2024: We're going for 5,000 km (about 3,100 miles) in one month to mimic the lesser-known dragonfly migration from Cuba to the Northern U.S.

October 2024:  Can we record 2,000 miles during the month to mimic the monarch butterfly migration?  You bet we can!

December 2024: Hike, bike, run, or horseback 2,025 miles to ring in the New Year.

2024 Naturalist and Member Only Programs

Member-only Naturalist programs have been announced for 2024. These programs are for Friends of Stark Parks members only. Save the date and look for registration to start in early 2024.

Intro to Archery
March 9 at 1 p.m.
Exploration Gateway at Sippo Lake Park
5712 12th St. NW, Canton 44708

What does it take to become a skilled archer? Join us for an afternoon class full of recreational shooting. Learn about the equipment, proper shooting technique, and safety before spending some time working on your skills. All equipment will be provided. Participants should arrive on time and must wear closed-toe shoes. Participants must be 10 years of age to sign up.

Register for Archery

Sip and Paint
April 18 at 5 p.m.
Tam O'Shanter Park Clubhouse
5055 Hills & Dales Rd., Canton 44708

Enjoy a relaxing evening at Tam O'Shanter Park while you paint a spring scene. The instructor will guide you through the process step by step and you will be amazed at what you can create. Alcohol will be available for purchase at this program. No outside food/drinks please.
This is a Friends of Stark Parks Members Only event for ages 21+.

Register for Sip and Paint

Pontoon Rides
May 31 at 10 a.m. to Noon and 5 to 7 p.m.
Sippo Lake Marina
5300 Tyner St., Canton 44708
Accessible parking is located next to the marina using the boat ramp in the SW corner of the parking lot.  An accessible ramp travels from the upper parking lot to the shoreline and marina area.

Enjoy 25 minutes of relaxation on a pontoon at Sippo Lake Park. A Stark Parks' Naturalist will on board to point out wildlife around the lake.
Morning rides are scheduled at the following times: 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 12 p.m.
Evening rides are 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. Registration is required due to limited space.  This is a member only opportunity.

Reserve a Pontoon Ride Spot

Date Night: Summer Serenades Concert Date Night and Canton Garden Center Tour
June 20, 5:30 p.m.
Canton Garden Center, Stadium Park
1615 Stadium Park Dr., Canton 44708

Enjoy a guided tour of the Canton Garden Center by city staff as they share the history and unknown facts about the garden. Afterwards, sit back and take in the sounds of the summer serenades concert on the lawn. Bring a picnic dinner, a blanket or folding chair. Tour begins at 5:30 p.m.  Music will start at 6:30 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, this tour and concert will be canceled. The Date Night portion of the program is for Friends of Stark Parks members only.

Nimisila Reservoir Hike
Aug. 20 at 6 p.m.
5531 S. Main St., Green 44319

Summit Metro Parks', 825-acre Nimisila Reservoir is one of 13 bodies of water that make up Portage Lakes. This reservoir is an important migratory habitat for several thousand purple martins during the month of August. Bring your binoculars for this 3-mile hike as we explore the lake's unique history and observe these beautiful birds. Meet at Lot SM2 to begin.  No registration required.

Explore Springfield Bog
Sept. 7 at 10 a.m.

Come and explore the wonders of the Continental Divide by joining an easy 1.6-mile hike through the Springfield Bog in Summit Metro Parks. Did you know that this divide separates the direction of water flow, sending it either north towards Lake Erie or south towards the Ohio River? Discover the rich local history and native flora and fauna that surround this unique natural landscape. No registration required.

Explore Cuyahoga National Park
Oct. 23 at 5:30 p.m.