Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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Cuyahoga Valley National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Cuyahoga Valley National Park.jpg
Bedrock outcrops, such as this one, can be found throughout the park.
Map showing the location of Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Map showing the location of Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Location Summit County & Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA
Nearest city Akron
Coordinates 41°14′30″N 81°32′59″W / 41.24167°N 81.54972°W / 41.24167; -81.54972Coordinates: 41°14′30″N 81°32′59″W / 41.24167°N 81.54972°W / 41.24167; -81.54972
Area 32,832.03 acres (13,287 ha)
20,339.22 acres (8,231 ha) federal[1]
Established October 11, 2000
Visitors 2,161,185 (in 2011)[2]
Governing body National Park Service

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a United States national park that preserves and reclaims the rural landscape along the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland in Northeast Ohio. The 20,339.22-acre (8,231 ha)[1] park is administered by the National Park Service and is the only national park in Ohio. It was established in 1974 as the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area and was designated as a national park in 2000.

Cuyahoga means "crooked river" in Mohawk, which is part of the Iroquoian language family.[3][4]

Administrative history[edit]

The valley began providing recreation for urban dwellers in the 1870s when people came from nearby cities for carriage rides or leisure boat trips along the canal. In 1880, the Valley Railroad became another way to escape urban industrial life. Actual park development began in the 1910s and 1920s with the establishment of Cleveland and Akron metropolitan park districts. In 1929 the estate of Cleveland businessman Hayward Kendall donated 430 acres (170 ha) around the Richie Ledges and a trust fund to the state of Ohio. Kendall's will stipulated that the "property should be perpetually used for park purposes". It became Virginia Kendall park, in honor of his mother. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps built much of the park's infrastructure including what are now Happy Days Lodge and the shelters at Octagon, Ledges, and Kendall Lake.

Although regional parks safeguarded certain places, by the 1960s local citizens feared that urban sprawl would overwhelm the Cuyahoga Valley's natural beauty. Active citizens joined forces with state and national government staff to find a long-term solution. Finally, on December 27, 1974, President Gerald Ford signed the bill establishing the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area.

The National Park Service acquired the 47-acre (19 ha) Krejci Dump in 1985 to include as part of the recreation area. They requested a thorough anaylsis of the site's contents from the Environmental Protection Agency. After the survey identified extremely toxic materials, the area was closed in 1986 and designated a superfund site.[5] Litigation was filed against potentially responsible parties, which included Ford, GM, Chrysler, 3M, and Waste Management of Ohio. All the companies except 3M agreed to a settlement; 3M lost at trial.[6]

Cleanup began in 1987 and had not been completed as of mid-2011, although most of the area had been restored to its original state as wetlands.[7]

The area was redesignated a national park by Congress on October 11, 2000,[8] with the passage of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2001, House Bill 4578, 106th congress.[9] It is administered by the National Park Service. David Berger National Memorial in Beachwood, Ohio is also managed through Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The Richfield Coliseum, a multipurpose arena in the Cuyahoga River area, was demolished in 1999 and the now-empty site became part of Cuyahoga Valley National Park upon its designation in 2000. It has since become a grassy meadow popular with birdwatchers.

Attractions[edit]

The Towpath Trail provides recreational activities for visitors

Many visitors spend their time hiking or bicycling the park's many trails which visit its numerous attractions, including the crushed limestone along portions of the 20-mile (32 km) Towpath Trail, following a former stretch of the 308-mile (496 km) Ohio and Erie Canal.

Waterfalls, rolling hills, caves and winding river scenery attract many park visitors. Steep narrow ravines, a rolling floodplain, and lush farmland contrast with one another throughout the park. Animal life is also plentiful. The Ledges provides a boulder-strewn cliff to relax and watch the sunset over the wooded scenery below. Sled-riding is popular during the winter at Kendall Hills.[10]

The park offers an array of preserved and restored displays of 19th and early 20th century sustainable farming and pastoral or rural living, while catering to contemporary interests with art exhibits, outdoor concerts, and scenic excursion and special event railroad tours on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.[11]

It includes compatible-use sites not owned by the federal government, including several local regional parks in the Cleveland Metroparks and Metro Parks, Serving Summit County systems, Blossom Music Center, and the Hale Farm & Village. In the mid-1980s, the park hosted the National Folk Festival.

Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail[edit]

The multi-purpose Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath trail was developed by the National Park Service and is the major trail through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It runs almost 21 miles (33½ km) from Rockside Road, Independence, OH in the north to Summit County's Bike & Hike trail in the south. It follows the Cuyahoga River for much of its length. Restrooms can be found at several trailheads along the way and commercial food and drink can be found on Rockside Rd., the Boston Store, in Peninsula, and at the farmer's market on Botzum Rd., (seasonally). There are also several visitors centers along the way. At Rockside Rd. it connects to Cleveland Metroparks trail which travels another 6 miles (9½ km) North. The Summit County trail runs through Akron and south. The "towpath trail" continues through Stark and Tuscarawas counties down to Zoar, Ohio; almost 70 more miles with only one significant (1 mile) interruption. Sections of the towpath trail outside of Cuyahoga Valley National Park are owned and maintained by various state and local agencies. The trail also meets the Buckeye Trail in the National Park (near Boston Store). Another section of the Summit County Bike & Hike Trail system (connecting to the near-by Brandywine Falls, and also to the Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation and Solon in Cuyahoga County; Hudson and Stow in Summit County; and Kent and Ravenna in Portage County, Ohio) is near-by.
Seasonally, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad allows visitors to travel along the towpath from Rockside Rd. to Akron getting off/on at any of the 6 other stops along the way. This is especially popular with bikers and for viewing and photographing fall colors. CVSR is independently owned and operated. (note - as of May, 2014, flood damage has limited the train to the 6 stops north of Indigo Lake Station. The entire route to Akron is expected to be open shortly.)

History[edit]

Restored Ohio & Erie Canal Lock

The Towpath Trail follows the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal. Before the canal was built, Ohio was a sparsely settled wilderness where travel was difficult and getting crops to market was nearly impossible. The canal, built between 1825 and 1832, provided a successful transportation route from Cleveland, on Lake Erie, to Portsmouth, on the Ohio River. The canal opened up Ohio to the rest of the settled eastern United States.[12]

There are numerous wayside exhibits that provide information about canal features and sites of historic interest.[13] There is also a virtual tour.[12][14]

Today visitors can walk or ride along the same path that the mules used to tow the canal boats loaded with goods and passengers. The scene is different than it was then; the canal was full of water carrying a steady flow of boats amongst the constant conversations of "canawlers." Evidence of beavers can be seen in many places along the trail.[12]

Stanford House (Formerly Stanford Hostel)[edit]

Stanford House located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Located in the scenic Cuyahoga Valley near Peninsula, Ohio, Stanford House is a historic 19th-century farm home built in the 1830s by George Stanford, one of the first settlers in the Western Reserve. In 1978, the NPS purchased the property to act as a youth hostel in conjunction with the American Youth Hostels (AYH) organization. In March 2011, Stanford Hostel became Stanford House, Cuyahoga Valley National Park's first in-park lodging facility. The home was renovated by the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park[15] and the National Park Service.[16][17]

Towpath trailheads[edit]

Lock 28 of the Ohio and Erie Canal, Vicinity of Peninsula, Ohio. Lock chamber, looking north. Original construction dated to 1827. With a depth of 16 feet (4.9 m), Lock #28 was the deepest lock in that portion of the Ohio and Erie Canal between Akron and Cleveland hence its popular name, Deep Lock.
Ohio and Erie Canal Tow Path Trailheads
Coordinates
Trailhead Map
Address
Image
Lock 39
41°22′24″N 81°36′59″W / 41.373272°N 81.616382°W / 41.373272; -81.616382 (Canal Visitor) Canal Visitor Center Canal Road & Hillside Road, Valley View, Ohio 44125,
1 12 miles (2.4 km) south of Rockside Road
Frazee House Canal Road, Valley View, Ohio,
3 12 miles (5.6 km) south of Rockside Road
Stephen Frazee House NPS.jpg
41°19′10″N 081°35′15″W / 41.31944°N 81.58750°W / 41.31944; -81.58750 (Station Road Bridge)[18] Station Road Bridge
Red Lock
Boston Store Boston Mills Road,
110 mile (160 m) east of Riverview Road
Lock 29
Hunt Farm Visitor Information Center Bolanz Road,
between Akron-Peninsula Road and Riverview Road
Ira
Indian Mound

Visitor centers[edit]

Points of historic interest[edit]

[32]

National Register of Historic Places[edit]

Many of the listed homes are in private ownership.[33]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the National Park Service document "http://www.nps.gov/archive/cuva/planavisit/todo/recreation/ohioerie.htm".

  1. ^ a b "Listing of acreage as of December 31, 2011". Land Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-06. 
  2. ^ "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-06. 
  3. ^ "Encyclopedia of Cleveland History - The Cuyahoga River". Case Western Reserve University. 
  4. ^ "The Cuyahoga River". Cleveland Memory, Cleveland State University. 
  5. ^ "Krejci Dump: A Story of Transformation" National Park Service, Cuyahoga Valley
  6. ^ Johnson, Jim: "Generators pay for industrial cleanup" Waste Recycling News, May 13, 2002
  7. ^ "Krejci Dump Site Cleanup and Restoration" National Park Service, July 1, 2011
  8. ^ "Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Frequently Asked Questions (U.S. National Park Service)". Nps.gov. Retrieved 2012-05-06. 
  9. ^ Rep. Ralph Regula [R-OH16, 1973-2009]. "summary of HR 4578". Govtrack.us. Retrieved 2012-05-06. 
  10. ^ "Winter Sports". National Park Service. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "CVSR". Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. 
  12. ^ a b c "Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  13. ^ "Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail Tour - Sites to Visit". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  14. ^ "Ohio & Erie Canal - Towpath Trail Tour". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  15. ^ "conservancyforcvnp.org". conservancyforcvnp.org. Retrieved 2012-05-06. 
  16. ^ "Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Cuyahoga Valley National Park". Nps.gov. 2012-04-17. Retrieved 2012-05-06. 
  17. ^ "Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Stanford House". Day in the Valley. 
  18. ^ a b "Station Road Bridge". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  19. ^ "Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Visitor Centers". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  20. ^ "Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Canal Visitor Center". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  21. ^ "Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Ohio and Erie Canal". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  22. ^ "Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Interactive Tow-Path Tour". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  23. ^ "Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Frazee House". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  24. ^ "Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Boston Store". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  25. ^ "Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Everett Road Covered Bridge". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  26. ^ "Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Brandywine Village". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  27. ^ "Happy Days Visitor Center". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  28. ^ "Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Virginia Kendall Unit map". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  29. ^ "The George Stanford House". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  30. ^ "National Register of Historic Places - Cuyahoga Valley National Park". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  31. ^ "Hale Farm and Village". Western Reserve Historical Society. 
  32. ^ "Points of Historic Interest". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  33. ^ "National Register of Historic Places - Cuyahoga Valley National Park". National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 
  34. ^ "Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  35. ^ "Tinkers Creek Aqueduct". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 

General references[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Cuyahoga Valley Trails Council (2007). The Trail Guide to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 3rd Edition, OH: Gray & Company, Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59851-040-9

External links[edit]