JUMP OUT OF AN AIRPLANE
By Gary Brown
You can team up for excitement at Canton Air Sports at 14008 Union Avenue NE in Lexington Township. Canton Air Sports, in operation since 1974, offers tandem skydiving experiences to a tri-state area of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Cost is only a little more than $200—less when you book during an online special. After a little instruction, you will be hooked up in a harness and attached to an instructor for your parachute jump. Jumpers leave the aircraft at an altitude of about 14,000 feet, then free fall for more than a mile at 120 miles per hour during what Canton Air Sports’ website calls “a serene 5 to 7 minute ride under a parachute built for two.” The good news for the adventurous? Your tandem jump could lead to what Canton Air Sports calls Accelerated Freefall Instruction and a solo jump. Visit canton-airsports.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-772-4174.
RENT A BIKE
BY KELSEY REINHART
Riding bikes in Stark County just got a whole lot easier thanks to an idea—a bike-sharing program—from the children at last year’s TomTod Ideas Canton Dreamatory. The Stark County District Library, in collaboration with Stark Parks and Canton Parks and Recreation, took that idea and ran with it. They will be launching bikeSMART.
Jean Duncan McFarren, deputy director at the Stark County District Library, said she is very excited about this program. McFarren went to Cleveland to see a bike-sharing program in action. She was impressed by what she saw, and she feels that it will be a great addition to the community. Unlike Cleveland’s transportation model, Stark County’s bike-sharing program will be more for recreation.
To use the program, you need a cellphone and a library card or credit card. The program is free as long as you have a Stark County District Library card or a branch library card. You can sign up for the program at the library, online at Zagster.com or through the Zagster app. You must be 18 or older to sign up.
Renting a bike is easy with the Zagster app. Show up at one of the six stations—Stark County District Library, Edward Peel Coleman Community Center, Canton Garden Center, Plain Community branch library, Perry Sippo branch library, the last location is yet to be determined—and use the app to rent a bike. Once you rent the bike, it will sensor your ride. When interviewed, McFarren said the rides will be limited to four hours, but she could see that increasing in time. While checked out, the bikes can be locked at other locations.
When you want to return the bike to any of the six locations, you will “end” the ride using the app. These sensors track the bikes so that the company, Zagster, can redistribute bikes if all are returned to one station.
Along with redistributing the bikes, Zagster has local employees who will take care of the maintenance on the bikes and will come fix a flat tire if you call them for assistance. Zagster also provides all of the bikes—six per location for now.
Wondering about the bikes themselves? They’re a nice, sturdy style with lights, reflectors, a bell, a basket, a chain guard and seven gears. They’re easy to ride, and the system is easy to use.
McFarren already sees potential for the program to expand. For now, the locations were chosen based on where it’s easy for bikers to ride.
Take your pick of mini golf or disc golf. Stark County has plenty of places for both. Try Lincoln Park (discgolfscene.com/courses/Lincoln_Park_Oak_Ledges) in Massillon for disc golf or head to Grand Slam (grand-slam-ohio.jbrdeveloper.com) for miniature golf.
Feel like a kid again this summer while racing around a go-kart track—or take your kids to the racetrack for the day. Sluggers & Putters (sluggers-putters.com) has two racetracks, with tickets starting at $6. Make it a day of fun, and try out the batting cages as well. There are bumper cars, an arcade, a driving range, a rock wall and more to keep everyone entertained.
Have some fun playing beach volleyball and bocce ball at Weis Park on 25th Street NW in Canton. Entrances for the park are off Harvard Avenue NW (between 25th and 30th streets) and from 25th Street beside the branch library.
RUN A RACE
Get ready to run this summer. There are plenty of races to choose from in Stark County. Join other runners in the 38th annual North Canton YMCA July 4th Race (ymcastark.org/4th-of-july-race). Choose from a Firecracker Dash, a 2-mile race or a 5-mile race.
SkyMax Trampoline Arena is a relatively new family-friendly entertainment venue. Pack up the kids and head to SkyMax for an afternoon of fun. Kids—and adults who want to have some fun—can jump around for $8 for a half hour, $11 for an hour or $15 for an hour and a half. Pricing is per person, and prices are higher on weekends. SkyMax offers all kinds of activities, including open jump, 3-D dodge ball, slam-dunk basketball and more. Check skymaxarena.com or call 330-966-4503 for availability.
By Tim Botos
You don’t need a bass boat decked out with all the latest electronics to enjoy fishing in the Stark County area. In fact, you don’t even need a lake or pond to wet your line.
The most overlooked, underfished and plentiful bodies of water are the 548 linear miles of streams, creeks and rivers that zig-zag through Stark. Most of them hold populations of panfish and game fish—providing opportunities for families in search of a simple beginner-style trip or the most serious of anglers who want to test their skill.
“It can be a good way to get off the beaten trail,” said Bart Brubach, who works in fishing tackle sales at Kames Sports in Lake Township.
The Tuscarawas and Mahoning rivers are the two biggies within Stark. The Tusc, as it is commonly referred to, flows through the western side of the county, offering plenty of fishing hot spots from Canal Fulton through Massillon, Navarre and Bethlehem Township. The Mahoning flows through the eastern side of the county, from the Deer Creek Reservoir area, south through Alliance, before exiting east.
Locals know the Tusc produces northern pike, smallmouth bass and varieties of catfish, as well as panfish. The Mahoning, especially near the Route 225 overpass, is a great place for early spring walleye and midspring white bass, which migrate into the river to spawn. Most good spots, such as deep pools, can be found from the shore, by wading, or by canoe.
“We know there’s some natural reproduction of walleyes occurring in the Mahoning,” said Phil Hillman, District Three fish management supervisor at the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
There are numerous public access points on both rivers, including the towpath trails along the Tusc. For those seeking an even smaller setting, there are dozens of creeks and streams that feed into the rivers. (See the accompanying listing for many and the general location of each.)
All the creeks and rivers are suitable for live bait fishing, such as catfish bait, wax worms or earthworms on anything from an elite spinning or bait casting rig to a simple cane pole. For those who prefer artificials, jigs and spinners are an excellent bet for most species.
While many of these small bodies of water contain multiple access points, anglers should be aware they also cross private properties. “You want to make sure you get written permission,” Hillman said.
If you plan to eat the fish you catch, it’s best to check Ohio Environmental Agency consumption advisories, detailing how often certain species can be ingested from specific bodies of water. The agency produces an annual booklet that can be viewed at: epa.state.oh.us/dsw/fishadvisory/sampledwaters.aspx
Stark County area creeks and streams:
Bean Creek, Navarre
Beech Creek, Alliance
Camp Creek, Navarre
East Branch Nimishillen Creek, Canton east
Elm Run, Navarre
Fox Run, Massillon
Hurford Run, Canton west
Hypocrite Run, Waynesburg
Indian Run, Waynesburg
Little Beech Creek, Limaville
Little Sandy Creek, Waynesburg
Middle Branch Nimishillen Creek, Canton east
Middle Fork Sugar Creek, Navarre
Mudbrook Creek, Massillon
Newman Creek, Massillon
Nimishillen Creek, Waynesburg
Pigeon Run, Navarre
Sandy Creek, Canton south
Sherrick Run, Canton west
Sippo Creek, Massillon
West Branch Nimishillen Creek, Canton west
West Sippo Creek, Massillon
Wetmore Creek, Massillon
RIDE A HORSE
Take a horseback ride through miles of wooded trails at Bear Creek Resort Ranch (bearcreek.us) in East Sparta.
SOFTBALL OR BASEBALL LEAGUES
Who said softball and baseball are just for kids? There are plenty of local adult leagues. Join a softball league through Massillon Parks & Rec Department (massillonparks.com).
Zip through Hocking Hills at speeds as fast as 50 mph on the SuperZip zip-line tour. Ride by yourself or alongside a friend through the forest and over the Hocking River. GoPro cameras are available for rental on all adventures. Pricing starts at $30. hockinghillscanopytours.com
CANOEING AND KAYAKING
Spend a nice, sunny day out on the water. Lather up the SPF, rent a canoe or kayak and paddle your worries away. Canal Fulton Canoe Livery (canalfultoncanoelivery.com) offers canoe rentals starting at $37 per canoe or $22 per kayak.
Summer is the perfect time to play bocce ball or cornhole. Start a game of bocce ball at Diamond Community Park and Sports Complex in Plain Township (plaintownship.com/parkdiamond).
By Gary Brown
The Stark County Park District offers a system of trails in 21 locations totaling more than 80 miles—25 of which are along the Ohio & Erie Canalway. The trails are in park settings, in urban areas, surrounding nature centers and near historic spots. Maps are available to identify trail routes. And, to help motivate hikers, Stark Parks is presenting its “Hike 100” program for the fifth year. Participants walk 100 miles on Stark Parks trails—on their own or in a group—and win awards! Organized hikes are held to help hikers reach the goal. To sign up, visit StarkParks.com and click on the Hike-A-Hundred logo or call 330-409-8096.
You don’t have to wait until the holidays to volunteer. Take time this summer to lend a helping hand. Many local organizations need help year-round. See how you can help Habitat for Humanity of Greater Stark & Carroll Counties (habitatstark.org), United Way of Greater Stark County (uwstark.org), Refuge of Hope Ministries (refugeofhope.org), American Red Cross (redcross.org), Stark Hunger Task Force (starkhunger.org) and more.