Chickagami is a Native American word meaning “camp by the lake.” This park sure has seen a lot of campers over the years. Camp Chickagami was dedicated as a year-round camping facility for the scouts by the Western Reserve Council of the Boy Scouts of America in 1941. If you have been to Chickagami Park, then you know that there isn’t a lake in or near the park. So why would they give this park that name? Let me tell you.
Years ago, a branch of the Grand River that ran through this property was dammed, creating Lake Estabrook. Small cabins and lean-tos dotted the shoreline of this lake. Scout groups would come to Camp Chickagami for week-long camping in the summer and short weekend trips in the winter. Additional lodges, a dining hall, and other facilities were added to accommodate them.
The Western Reserve Council, needing to reduce operating costs, signed a purchase agreement with Geauga Park District to take over the camp property in 2003. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency completed an evaluation and inspection of Lake Estabrook. It was determined that the dam was badly deteriorating and needed to be removed, resulting in the river corridor returning to its original flow. The Western Reserve Council removed the dam and most of the buildings as part of the purchase agreement.
This property is still used today for camping and recreational use. The Boy Scouts continue to have priority access to the property for camping. In 2009, two group campsites were added, each consisting of one lean-to shelter, four tent pads, a common fire pit and grill. In 2010, nine new sites were added: Group Site K, two sites with lean-tos, and six sites with tent pads. For more information on camping here, download the camping brochure.
Chickagami Park has two shelters on its 139 acres that are available to reserve; the Pine Grove Shelter and the Overlook Shelter. These shelters hold 75-150 people. Reserving a shelter within a Geauga Park District is FREE to Geauga County residents. Click here to reserve a shelter.
Last spring, I took the little boy I was babysitting here to go on a nature hike. The trails were easy and short loops. Wildflowers were everywhere. We ventured though the beech-maple forests, around the wetlands, and alongside all of the camping facilites. We had a picnic in the Overlook Shelter. The Activity Field was great for him to just run around and have fun. We kicked a soccer ball around for a while. It was a great place to enjoy nature, teach him the names of some flowers, trees, and critters along the way, to go on an adventure, and to burn some energy before nap time. Click here to see a map of this park.
If you are looking for a place to take a short nature walk by yourself, with your kids, or with your critters, stop by Chickagami Park and take a stroll. The trails are open for cross country skiing in the winter and horseback riding as well. This is a great place to go camping with a group of kids or even just to have a party just for the day. There is a lot of space to set up games and activities.
17957 Tavern Road (Route 168)
Parkman, OH 44021
The online home for Chickagami Park, from which information for this article was obtained, can be found HERE.
Have you ever been to Chickagami Park? What do you like about this park? Leave us comments below.