Located just minutes from Akron, Wingfoot Lake offers a delightful escape from the city. Groves of tall trees, expanses of grass, and the picturesque lake provide a calming backdrop for a relaxing outing. Reservable shelters are ideal for all types and sizes of picnics, reunions and social gatherings in a scenic outdoor setting.
The summit of northeast Ohio, where the Cuyahoga River flows north to Lake Erie and the Tuscarawas River flows south to the Muskingum River, was an important trade and navigation thoroughfare for native Americans. The Delaware, in particular, settled in the area to take advantage of the travel route from the Great Lakes to the Ohio River, as well as enjoy the abundance of game and small lakes.
By the early 1800s, Ohioans had devised a scheme to employ the natural waterways as part of an ambitious canal system. Work began in 1825 to dig out the trenches that would serve as the canal channels, and at the Portage Summit, the town of Akron was founded primarily as a new home for the canal workers. The canal enabled local subsistence farmers and millers to reach distant markets with their goods, and made Akron one of Ohio’s most thriving cities.
The canal era was short lived, but Akron remained an important manufacturing center with stoneware and sewer pipe industries. In 1898, Akron entrepreneur Frank A. Seiberling founded the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company to manufacture bicycle and carriage tires. In 1901, Goodyear began producing automobile tires, and by 1920, Goodyear had become the largest tire company in the world . The Goodyear Company was a leader in innovation with new and improved products, including rubberized fabric for airships. In 1916, Goodyear purchased 720 acres in southwest Portage County to begin manufacturing of its own blimps – a type of airship with a non-rigid balloon. The 444-acre lake at the site, named Wingfoot Lake in honor of Goodyear’s corporate logo, provided the crucial water supply for the operation. A hangar was constructed on the south shore of the lake, along with workshops, a hydrogen plant and a landing field. Goodyear contracted with the U.S. Navy in 1917 to build nine blimps at the Wingfoot plant, which proved highly useful during World War I for reconnaisance missions. More than 600 military cadets received flight instruction and associated training at the Wingfoot Lake site during the war.
After World War II, the Goodyear blimp fleet was pressed into service for advertising and promotional campaigns, including telecasts of college football games. The north shore of Wingfoot Lake was developed for employee outings and corporate retreats in the 1960s. A number of recreational facilities were built, including large picnic shelters with fireplaces, ball diamonds, volleyball and bocce ball courts, paved courts for basketball and tennis, playgrounds and boating facilities. In the 1980s, attendance at Wingfoot Lake Park peaked with more than 100,000 Goodyear employees and their families visiting each year. In 2006, Goodyear closed Wingfoot Lake Park.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife purchased 690 acres of the Wingfoot Lake property in 2009, including Wingfoot Lake. Approximately 121 acres adjacent to the lake was transferred to the Division of Parks and Recreation in 2009 and added to the state park system.
An archery range is available on the adjacent Wildlife Area. It is located at the Wingfoot Bowhunters Club off Old Waterloo Road, which is operated and maintained in cooperation with the Wingfoot Bowhunters Club. Open daily October – February; open Saturdays until 2pm March – September (Tournaments are held on Sundays).
All boats are permitted on the 444-acre lake as long as they remain at idle speed (no-wake). Pontoon boats and paddlecraft are available for rent from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Wednesday through Sunday, 11am to 8pm. A launch ramp is located in the Wingfoot Lake Wildlife Area adjacent to the park.
The park features an 18-hole disc golf course. Seasonally, May 1 – Sept 30, Holes 12, 13, 14 & 15 will be closed each Saturday and Sunday from noon–7pm. These holes will also be closed on Wednesdays, June 1 – August 15.
The park features an area for dogs to exercise and play off-leash. The dog park is sponsored by the Friends of Wingfoot Lake Dog Park
Fishing for bluegill and bass can be enjoyed from the shoreline. Additional fishing opportunities are available at the adjacent Wingfoot Lake Wildlife Area, which offers a launch ramp.
Contact the ODNR Division of Wildlife at (330) 644-2293 or by email to inquire about hunting opportunities at the adjacent Wingfoot Lake Wildlife Area. A valid Ohio hunting license is required.
Scenic picnic areas with spacious shelterhouses are located along the lakeshore and in wooded areas.
Paved walking paths connect parking areas with picnic shelters, playgrounds, ball fields and other recreational facilities.
Horseshoe pits and bocce ball courts
Ballfields, basketball and volleyball courts
18-hole mini-golf course
Golf driving range (300 yards) open seasonally, weather permitting.