Cleveland's Emerald Necklace

Long an industrial city and once famous for its polluted river and lake front, Cleveland, Ohio, is now recognized for its fine network of parks and nature preserves. Known locally as the Emerald Necklace, the refuges line the rim of the Metro Area, from Headland Dunes, northeast of the city (on Lake Erie), to the Rocky River Reservation, a 16 mile long greenbelt along Cleveland's western edge.

Between these two preserves are Mentor Marsh, the Holden Arboretum, Chapin State Forest and Hach-Otis Sanctuary, all to the northeast, Tinkers Creek State Nature Preserve, to the southeast, and Cuyahoga Valley National Park, to the south. Numerous trails and bikeways provide access to these parks, which harbor scenic waterfalls, hemlock groves, rugged gorges, spectacular rock formations and natural wetlands. Of course, they are also home to a wide variety of plant and animal life.

Too often, beginning naturalists assume that they must travel to vast wilderness areas to find nature's bounty. In reality, it is often very close to home and Cleveland's Emerald Necklace offers a prime example.