Friends of Heights Parks plans Lower Lake walk

A chilly November walk in Forest Hill Park.

photo: Peggy Spaeth

The newly formed Friends of Heights Parks (FHP) invites all to discover more about our parks by joining a Walk in the Park at Shaker Lakes’ Lower Lake, on Jan. 22.

Walkers will hit the trail at 11 a.m., meeting at the parking lot on South Park Boulevard near Leighton Road in Shaker Heights. The walk is a little more than a mile around the lake, with options for rugged or level terrain.

FHP is hosting walks to showcase each unique park in Cleveland Heights, and inspire fellow park lovers to join together to support programs, improve habitat, and shepherd this historic park system into a healthy, sustainable future for the whole community.

A small but growing group—currently representing Forest Hill Park, Cain Park, and Lower Lake Park—FHP aims to ensure representation for all Heights parks. All are invited to share ideas for park activities and improvements via, or on FHP’s Facebook group,

Since 2017, Friends of Lower Lake, comprising about 20 self-selected volunteers, ages 13 to 81, has been removing invasive species; planting native trees, shrubs, and a herbaceous layer; and improving trails around the lake. The group is sponsored by the nonprofit Doan Brook Watershed Partnership. The park—the focus of the Jan. 22 walk—straddles Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, and volunteers live in four adjacent cities. A video history of the park can be found at

The oldest park "friends" group is the nonprofit Friends of Cain Park, founded in 1991 in support of the performing arts at Cain Park. This unique park is, geographically, Cleveland Heights’ Central Park, and was launched in 1934 with a performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Stay tuned for an entertaining walk at this historic arts park. Other future Walks in the Park will be at Cumberland, Denison, and Barbara Boyd parks.

A return to Forest Hill Park for a spring bird walk is also in the works. FHP’s first park walk, in November, welcomed more than 35 people for a chilly walk through Forest Hill Park, led by landscape designer and park expert Elsa Johnson. Several other walkers shared their knowledge with the enthusiastic group as well, including archaeologist Roy Larick, ornithologist Andy Jones, and Eric Yarham, who used his musical-theater voice to project tour-stop descriptions from Johnson’s handout (which can be found at

RSVP for the Jan. 22 walk at so that you can be notified if the walk is rescheduled due to weather. E-mail questions to

Peggy Spaeth

Peggy Spaeth is a member of the Cleveland Heights Parks & Recreation board, co-chair of Friends of Lower Lake, and one of the instigators of Friends of Heights Parks.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:21 AM, 01.03.2022