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John J. Mills - District 13

Erie County Parks Offer Various Winter Activities – for Free

Parks are a great place for affordable family fun


Erie County Executive Chris Collins, Legislature Minority Leader John Mills and Parks Commissioner Jim Hornung held a press conference at Emery Park in South Wales to highlight the many winter activities open to Erie County residents.

Minority Leader John Mills, center, announced on Dec. 30
that the downhill ski slopes at Emery Park are open. He
is joined by Parks Commissioner Jim Hornung and County
Executive Chris Collins. The free slopes are pictures
behind them.

Downhill skiing is available at Emery, and the ski lodge was recently renovated with a new roof and windows.  The parking lot and road leading to the ski lodge were also repaved by the County’s Public Works Department and the Emery field house was renovated inside and out with lumber from the County Forest.

Sledding hills are open in most County parks.  Most parks are also equipped for cross-country skiing.  As soon as enough snow falls to cover the wooden tracks on the toboggan hill at Chestnut Ridge, toboggan runs will be open on weekends.  This year, the County will offer toboggan rentals at Chestnut Ridge through a vendor.  The County also offers ice skating rinks at Como Lake and Akron Falls parks, weather permitting. 

Erie County Executive Chris Collins said, “I’m very pleased we’re able to offer so many outdoor winter activities for families to enjoy in our County parks, free of charge.  You won’t find a more affordable family outing than our well-kept Erie County Parks in the winter.  Keeping our parks in the best shape possible is a quality of life issue for taxpayers, and a priority of my administration.”

“Erie County works very hard to ensure the parks are maintained and safe for residents to use,” said Legislative Minority Leader John Mills.  “That includes the free skiing hill at Emery Park which is a great activity for families and residents. With rising costs around every corner these days, I am proud we can still offer downhill skiing and other winter activities free of charge in beautiful settings.”

Parks Commissioner Jim Hornung said, “Our parks employees spent the fall diligently preparing for our busy winter season, and as soon as the weather cooperates, we’ll be ready to go with all of our great winter activities.  The toboggan runs were a very popular attraction when we reopened them last year, and we look forward to another successful season as soon as we get a good, packing snow on the hill at Chestnut Ridge.  In the meantime, the regular sledding hill remains open in the Park.”

The skiing hill at Emery Park is open Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays.  The toboggan runs at Chestnut Ridge will be open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday nights and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays, as soon as the snow permits.  Toboggan will be available for rent for $25 for two hours, $35 for four hours or $55 for all day sledding.  Ice skating rinks will open in Como Lake and Akron Falls parks as soon as the ground freezes enough to build the rinks.  They will be open daily from noon to 8 p.m.  For more information about winter activities available in specific parks, visit www.erie.gov/parks.

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