Make a Difference

In The Parks

You can do more than you think you can to help preserve and protect your MetroParks

Hiking across stream at Germantown

One of the missions of Five Rivers MetroParks is to provide opportunities for visitor enjoyment and use of the parks. Uses of parks vary widely and include activities such as sightseeing, photography, hiking, camping, bird watching, natural and human history study and picnicking. The experiences are almost as varied as the people themselves. All of us are stewards of the natural heritage of our MetroParks. We want to enlist your help in protecting that heritage, and the enjoyment of other visitors.

Love your MetroParks

The first step to inspiring stewardship of your MetroParks is to teach kids why our parks are important. Urge them to spend time outside in the nearly 16,000 acres of wilderness that we protect for the residents of the Miami Valley and future generations. Go for hikes, camp and play games in the parks. Encourage kids to ask questions and make observations about the natural world around them.

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace LogoFive Rivers MetroParks is a partner with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, which teaches people of all ages how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly and is the most widely used outdoor ethics program on public lands throughout the country.

If all park visitors follow these principles, we can ensure that all of our parks, waters and lands remain places of wonder, inspiration and exploration for years to come.

  • Being quiet and respecting those who seek serenity helps everyone enjoy the park.
  • Pack out your trash. Take out everything you bring into the parks, or dispose of it properly in park trash and recycling bins. This includes dog droppings. Better yet, pick up litter every time you go out hiking.
  • Walk through muddy trail sections, not around them. It’s best to walk single-file on the trail, even when it’s wet or muddy, because the surrounding vegetation and habitat will suffer if trampled, causing “trail widening.” Please preserve our trails by choosing the muddy path.
  • Leave what you find when you are in the parks — including flowers, rocks and leaves. Disturbing these things puts the lives of animals and plants at risk and ruins their habitats. Bring along a sketchbook or camera so you can remember an item without taking it.
  • After a day of paddling, don’t forget to clean your boat. Giving your boat a good scrub before heading back home can help eliminate the spread of invasive species, which may be trying to hitchhike their way into new ecosystems.
  • Clean your boots after each hike. Invasive species can spread through the parks on the bottoms of your shoes and boots, too. A good brushing after each hike helps us contain these species.

Don't feed the animals

Minor though it may seem, not feeding the animals protects their welfare significantly. When wild animals cease to find their own food, they are no longer a part of the balance of nature. They may become unable to forage for themselves. Animals also lose their fear of cars and humans and are more likely to be injured or killed as they linger near roadsides. Besides, feeding any animal — including birds — is illegal. Protect wildlife and your food by storing snacks and trash securely.

Stay on trails and boardwalks

There are more than 155 miles of trails and many boardwalks in your MetroParks. Taking shortcuts from the trail increases erosion, and it may take a generation for fragile vegetation to recover. For your own safety, stay on boardwalks and check for current trail conditions/closures.

Pack out your trash and recycle

Pack a small litter sack with you when you hike, and pack out more litter than you bring in. No one expects you to shoulder the entire burden of keeping the parks clean, but there is real satisfaction in knowing that you left an area in better shape than you found it. Recycle aluminum cans and glass bottles in receptacles located throughout the parks.

Don't bring in firewood

Because of the threat of invasive species such as the emerald ash borer, do not bring firewood into any MetroPark. The ash borer can survive in cut wood for two years. Experts believe that the borer infestation is spreading quickly because people are moving firewood from infested areas to noninfested areas.

Visit the Don’t Move Firewood website for a wealth of information, including state-by-state updates on pest quarantines and threats, videos, insect identification and ways you can help stop the spread of these and other destructive pests.


Five Rivers MetroParks has more than 2,000 active volunteers each year. You could be one of them! Volunteers provide an invaluable service and help ensure that our special outdoor places will continue to be cherished for generations to come. From clearing trails to providing visitor information, your MetroParks could use your help.

Learn more about volunteering

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