The Metro Parks, Serving Summit County saw a record number of visitors in 2011.
More than 5.1 million visitors made their way to the parks last year, up more than 88,000 from 2010 including visitation at 14 parks including the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, and the Seiberling Nature Realm .
Sand Run proved to be the most popular spot, attracting more than 1.75 million visitors last year.
Metro Parks, Serving Summit County Press Release:
Metro Parks, Serving Summit County saw more than 5.1 million visits in 2011, the highest number on record for the park district, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last year.
The figure – 5,101,215 – is up more than 88,000 from 2010 and includes visitation at 14 parks, the paved 33.5-mile Bike & Hike Trail, 22.4 miles of the popular Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail and the visitors center at F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm (1828 Smith Rd., Akron).
The most visited Metro Park in 2011 was Sand Run in West Akron, which had visits.
The numbers are tallied from traffic counts, pavilion and shelter reservations, event participation, swim pass sales at two parks and attendance estimates from special-use permits for non-park events, like cross-country meets.
“It’s not an exact science, but consider that we haven’t measured walk-in visitors for places like Goodyear Heights Metro Park, and we may be under-representing actual visitation figures,” said Metro Parks spokesperson Nathan Eppink.
The park district is funded by a Summit County real estate tax, last passed in 2006. Most programs and events are free and there is no daily fee to use the Metro Parks, with the exception of two beach areas during swim season, Memorial Day weekend through the third weekend end in August.
Metro Parks, Serving Summit County manages 11,000 acres, including 14 developed parks, six conservation areas and more than 125 miles of trails, with 22.4 miles of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Annual attendance averages 5 million visits.