There’s just a few weeks left to enjoy fall colors in Northeast Ohio… and to participate in the Summit County Metro Parks’ Fall Hiking Spree. Everyone who finishes the spree is rewarded with a hiking staff, and that prompted listener Rick Hannon of Northfield to ask our “OH Really?” team: where do those staffs come from?
When the spree began in 1964, the staffs were much wider and made of maple. Almost six decades later, they use poplar grown in southern Ohio.
Putting together a staff
Swan Hardware in Akron works with the Baker-McMillen Company in Stow, which makes the staffs.
“It has to be a hard wood in order to use it as a staff, because they’re using it to help walk the trails — if you need it. So, we couldn’t do recycled woods,” according to Sharon White with the Metro Parks’ Nature Realm.
“Our maintenance department actually cuts the rope [for the top of the staff]. And then the rope is taken to Weaver Industries. They drill holes into them and then put the rope on it.”
Graphic designers with the Metro Parks design the shields – with a new motif every year — and then send that off to Sackmann Stamp in Akron. The finished brass shields are delivered flat, then bent into shape and mounted at Weaver Industries.
“It’s an amazing thing that we have all the community is involved in this hiking spree. So, I’m always excited when I tell the story of where they’ve come from and how it’s so community oriented,” White said.
She says they order about 5,000 staffs each year.
Rick Hannon recently moved to Northfield from Idaho, and has enjoyed participating in the Summit County Metro Parks’ Fall Hiking Spree. He wanted to know where the staffs come from which go to anyone who completes eight trails in the spree.
Getting to spree
How does one actually sign up for the spree?
“We have a list of trails that you can hike,” White said. “You can pick that up anywhere, or get them online, and you have to do eight different trails from September 1- November 30. And you have until March 31 to actually turn your form. You enter the date that you …….