30 October, 2014
About / Contact Us
Message from the Parks Commissioners
Darke County Parks are unlike many metropolitan park systems. Our parks have purposefully evolved to compliment our agriculture community, providing passive recreation in a variety of natural settings. Instead of ball fields and playgrounds our parks embrace and preserve the natural habitats and cultural features that are an important and integral part of our community.
Many of our parks have their origin in land donations from private citizens wishing to preserve a unique corner of the natural world for future generations to enjoy. Our mission avoids aggressive land acquisition in favor of preserving special natural and historically significant features and to manage and maintain these resources for the benefit of residents. Passive recreation, and appropriate educational programs and activities are the focus of the mission of your Darke County Parks.
We hope this website encourages you to explore your parks and take advantage of all they offer. From a quiet walk through a shaded forest, to a guided hike to discover spring wildflowers, to a Nature Center full of interesting displays for the entire family, Darke County Parks has something for every one.
Parks Mission
The mission of Darke County Parks is to acquire and preserve land areas possessing special natural and historical features and to maintain these resources for the benefit of its residents through appropriate educational and recreational programs and activities.
Parks History
The Darke County Park District was formed in June 1972 under the provisions of the Ohio Revised Code, section 1545, for the benefit of the citizens of Darke County.
The first preserve or park was a thirty-two acre tract of land located on Young Road in Jackson Township. Now known as Coppess Nature Sanctuary, the land was donated from private citizens who wanted to preserve the land and wildlife as a reminder of how it may have appeared in pre settlement time. This donation was the catalyst for the creation of the Park District.
Since 1972 the Park District has grown to include ten park locations encompassing more than 400 acres. In September 1997 Dark County Parks dedicated the Nature Education Center at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, beginning a new era of natural and cultural preservation and education for the citizens of Darke County. Today more than 10,000 visitors annually participate in nature education programs of all kinds. The building and setting also serves as a community center, continuously hosting meetings and special events.
Parks Rules
Parks Staff
A small but dedicated staff of professional administrators, naturalists and maintenance personnel strive to ensure parks visitors enjoy a pleasant, safe and educational visit. The Nature Center sparkles and is full of educational displays and hands-on exhibits. The trails are convenient yet natural with access for all abilities. Enthusiastic knowledgeable naturalists fill the calendar with programs for school children and general audiences. The "business" of managing a park district is efficiently and economically accomplished. All this with the interests and enjoyment of the community in mind.
Come visit; get to know your parks and its people. They are here to make sure you park visit is enjoyable, and they too are a part of this wonderful community.
Questions about Darke County Parks should be directed to:
Darke County Parks
P.O. Box 801
4267 State Route 502
Greenville, OH 45331
phone: 937-548-0165
fax: 937-548-2935
email us
Questions about the website should be directed to: webmaster
Please click here for an up-to-date listing of all internships, part-time positions and full-time positions open at the Parks.
Darke County Park District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, nationality or disability in employment, services, programs or activities.
Staff Contact

Roger Van Frank
Director/Secretary
Email Roger

Robb Clifford
Senior Naturalist
Email Robb

Laura Schwieterman
Volunteer Coordinator / Naturalist
Email Laura

Erica Wentworth
Naturalist
Email Erica

Deb Shiverdecker
Office Manager
Email Deb

Nathan Epperly
Manager of Park
Maintenance Operations

Email Nathan

Chris Supinger
Park Maintenance Operations
Email Chris
Contents © 2005 - 2014, Darke County Park District