Cuyahoga Valley National Park
|Cuyahoga Valley National Park|
Bedrock outcrops, such as this one, can be found throughout the park
|Location||Summit County & Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States|
|Nearest city||Cleveland, Akron|
|Area||32,572 acres (50.9 sq mi; 131.8 km2)|
|Established||October 11, 2000|
|Visitors||2,226,879 (in 2017)|
|Governing body||National Park Service|
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is an American national park that preserves and reclaims the rural landscape along the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland in Northeast Ohio. Cuyahoga Valley is unusual among American national parks being adjacent to two large urban areas and including a dense road network, small towns, and private attractions.
The 32,572-acre (50.9 sq mi; 131.8 km2) park is administered by the National Park Service, but within its boundaries are areas independently managed as city parks or private businesses. Cuyahoga Valley was originally designated as a National Recreation Area in 1974, then redesignated as a national park 26 years later in 2000, and remains the only national park that originated as a national recreation area.
- 1 History
- 2 Wildlife
- 3 Attractions
- 4 Geology
- 5 Visitor centers
- 6 Points of historic interest
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
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 Railway 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 (0.7 sq mi; 1.7 km2) around the Ritchie Ledges and a trust fund to the state of Ohio. Kendall's will stipulated that the "property should be perpetually used for park purposes". The area was called Virginia Kendall Park, in honor of his mother. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps built much of the park's infrastructure including the Happy Days Lodge and the shelters at Octagon, the Ledges, and Kendall Lake. The Happy Days Lodge, near Peninsula, was constructed from 1938–39 as a camp for urban children. The lodge is presently used only as a special events site.
Although the regional parks safeguarded certain places, by the 1960s local citizens feared that urban sprawl would overwhelm the Cuyahoga Valley's natural beauty. An additional concern was the environmental degradation of the Cuyahoga River via factory waste and sewage, along with fires that burned on the river in 1952 and 1969. 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 (0.1 sq mi; 0.2 km2) Krejci Dump in 1985 to include as part of the recreation area. They requested a thorough analysis 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 under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980. Litigation was filed against potentially responsible parties: Ford, GM, Chrysler, 3M, Waste Management, Chevron, Kewanee Industries, and Federal Metals. Only 3M would not agreed to a settlement, and the company lost at trial. Removal of toxic materials began in 1987 with 371,000 short tons (742,000,000 lb; 337,000,000 kg) of contaminated soils and debris removed by 2012, and restoration completed by 2015.
The area was redesignated a national park by Congress on October 11, 2000, with the passage of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2001, House Bill 4578, 106th Congress. The park is administered by the National Park Service. The David Berger National Memorial in Beachwood, a Cleveland suburb, 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 vacant site became part of Cuyahoga Valley National Park upon its designation in 2000. The area has since become a grassy meadow that is a popular birdwatching site.
Animals found in the park include raccoons, muskrats, coyotes, skunks, red foxes, beavers, peregrine falcons, river otters, bald eagles, opossums, three species of moles, white-tailed deer, Canada geese, gray foxes, minks, great blue herons, and seven species of bats.
Cuyahoga Valley features natural, man-made, and private attractions, which is unusual for an American national park. The park includes compatible-use sites not owned by the federal government, such as regional parks of the Cleveland Metroparks and Summit Metro Parks systems.
The natural areas include forests, rolling hills, narrow ravines, wetlands, rivers, and waterfalls. About 100 waterfalls are located in the Cuyahoga Valley, with the most popular being the 65-foot (20 m) tall Brandywine Falls—the tallest waterfall in the park and the tallest in Northeast Ohio. The Ledges are a rock outcropping that provides a westward view across the valley's wooded areas. Talus caves are located among the boulders in the forest around the Ledges.
The park has many trails, most notably the 20-mile (32 km) Towpath Trail, which follows a former stretch of the 308-mile (496 km) Ohio and Erie Canal and is popular for hiking, bicycling, and running. Skiing and sled-riding are available during the winter at Kendall Hills.. Visitors can play golf, or take scenic excursions and railroad tours on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad during special events.
The park also features preserved and restored displays of 19th and early 20th century sustainable farming and rural living, most notably the Hale Farm and Village, while catering to contemporary cultural interests with art exhibits, outdoor concerts, and theater performances in venues such as Blossom Music Center and Kent State University's Porthouse Theatre. In the mid-1980s, the park hosted the National Folk Festival.
Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail
The multi-purpose Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail was developed by the National Park Service and is the major trail through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The trail traverses almost 21 mi (34 km) from Rockside Road in Independence in the north to Summit County's Bike & Hike trail in the south, following the Cuyahoga River for much of its length. Restrooms are available at several trailheads, and food and drink establishments are along Rockside Road, as well as the Boston Store in Peninsula, and at the seasonal farmer's market on Botzum Road. Three visitor centers are located along the path: the Canal Exploration Center, Boston Store, and the Hunt House. The trail connects to a Cleveland Metroparks trail at Rockside Road, which continues another 6 mi (9.7 km) north. The Summit County trail continues through Akron and further south through Stark and Tuscarawas counties to Zoar, Ohio, almost 70 mi (110 km) continuously, with a single 1 mi (1.6 km) 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 is nearby, connecting to Brandywine Falls, Cleveland Metroparks' Bedford Reservation and the cities of Solon in Cuyahoga County, Hudson and Stow in Summit County, and Kent and Ravenna in Portage County.
Seasonally, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) allows visitors to travel along the towpath from Rockside Road to Akron, embarking or disembarking at any of the stops along the way. The train is especially popular with bicyclists, and for viewing and photographing fall colors. CVSR is independently owned and operated.
The Towpath Trail follows the historic route of the Ohio and 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 new transportation route from Cleveland on Lake Erie, to Portsmouth on the Ohio River. The canal connected Ohio to the rest of the eastern United States. Numerous wayside exhibits provide information about canal features and sites of historic interest.
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. Evidence of beavers can be seen in many places along the trail.
Stanford House (formerly Stanford Hostel)
Located in the scenic Cuyahoga Valley near Peninsula, 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 serve 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 and the National Park Service.
Within the national park, trailhead parking for the towpath trail is available along Canal Road, from north to south, at:
- Lock 39—west of intersection with Rockside Road;
- Canal Exploration Center—at Hillside Road;
- Frazee House—south of Alexander Road, north of Sagamore Road;
and along Riverview Road, from north to south, at:
- Station Road Bridge—east along with Chippewa Creek Drive;
- Red Lock—east of the river, along Vaughn/Highland Road;
- Boston Store—east on Boston Mills Road;
- Peninsula Depot—east across river on Route 303, then N Locust Street, and W Mill Street to parking lot;
- Lock 28—also called Deep Lock; south of Major Road;
- Hunt House—at Bolanz Road;
- Ira Road—just north of intersection;
- Botzum Station—south of Bath Road;  .
The "V" course of the Cuyahoga River is rather unique, first flowing southwest, and then abruptly turning north to drain into Lake Erie not far from its origin. The left arm of this "V", flowing north through the park, corresponds to an older preglacial valley, while the right arm corresponds to relatively new drainage. The new segment cut into the old at Cuyahoga Falls, the base of the "V". Other streams have made routes into the Cuyahoga preglacial valley by cutting gorges with waterfalls such as those found along the Tinkers, Brandywine and Chippewa Creeks. These waterfalls form as flowing water erodes the Bedford Shale, which underlies the more resistant Berea Sandstone. Glacial drift fills the valley to a depth of 400 feet (120 m). This fill is very complex due to ponding in front of the ice before and after each glaciation. Beach deposits, gravel bars and other shoreline deposits from Lake Maumee are found in the valley, as are gravels from the time of Lake Arkona, and ridges marking the shores of Lake Whittlesey, Lake Warren, and Lake Wayne.
A noticeable remnant of the Wisconsin glaciation is the Defiance moraine, which trends from Defiance in western Ohio, across the state into Pennsylvania. As Cushing et al. point out, "The Defiance moraine represents the last notable stand of the glacial front in this region." The moraine varies in width from 2–4 mi (3.2–6.4 km), and according to Leverett, "it is like a broad wave whose crest stands 20 to 50 feet above the border of the plain outside it." This moraine forms a lobe that protrudes south into the valley for 8 mi (13 km) all the way to Peninsula, the lobe being 6 mi (9.7 km) wide at the north end, tapering to 3 mi (4.8 km) wide at the south end. Kames and eskers mark the terrain south of this moraine up to the southern extent of the glaciation.:581–584:63–64, 96
The Berea Sandstone and the Bedford Shale were deposited in a river delta environment in the Lower Mississippian. River channels were incised into the Bedford Shale and subsequently these channels were filled by the Berea Sandstone. Besides setting the stage for majestic gorges and waterfalls within the valley, they have provided an economic use as well. The Berea Sandstone was quarried in Berea for grindstones and building stones, while the lowermost part of the Bedford Shale was quarried in South Euclid and Cleveland Heights for its bluestone.:109–111
The Sharon Conglomerate is a Lower Pennsylvanian formation composed of sandstone and conglomerate which forms, according to Cushing et al., "disconnected patches or outliers that cap the highest hills... these outliers stand boldly above the surrounding country" due to its resistance to erosion. The Boston Ledges are the most noteworthy example. As the Mississippian shale underneath is washed away, huge blocks of the Sharon result from the settling. As Cushing et al. explain, "frost action aids in pushing these blocks apart, cracks are widened into caves, and a tangle of blocks results, separated by passages of uneven widths.":54–57
Shale gas has been produced in the area since 1883, when H.A. Mastick's well was drilled in the Rockport Township to a depth of 527 ft (161 m), yielding 21,643 cubic feet (612.9 m3) of gas daily. A gas boom occurred in 1914–1915, and by 1931, several hundred gas wells were producing from the Devonian Huron shale. Production came from shales 1,250 ft (380 m) thick at depths from 400–1,840 ft (120–560 m). Pressures were 3–135 psi (21–931 kPa) flowing less than 20,000 cubic feet (570 m3) of gas daily, but was sufficient to furnish light for a house or two, and sometimes heat. As Cushing et al. pointed out in the 1930s, "there are vast amounts of petroleum in the Devonian shales." Since then, the Marcellus Shale and the deeper Utica Shale have shown their economic potential.:115–116, 123
Geologic map of surface glacial features
The Canal Exploration Center is located along Canal Road at Hillside Road in Valley View, south of Rockside Road. The visitor center contains interactive maps and games related to the history of the canal, especially the years from 1825 to 1876. The canal-era building once served canal boat passengers waiting to pass through the Ohio and Erie Canal's Lock 38.
Boston Store was constructed in 1836 and is located just east of Riverview Road. The building was used as a warehouse, store, post office, and a general gathering place. The visitor center has a museum featuring exhibits on canal boat-building. A short video is available, as well as maps, brochures and NPS passport stamps.
The Hunt House at Riverview and Bolanz Roads is typical of late-19th-century family farms in the Cuyahoga Valley. Visitors can obtain information about park activities and see exhibits about the area's agricultural history. The farm is an ideal starting point for a hike or a bicycle ride as it is adjacent to the canal towpath trail.
The Frazee House on Canal Road in Valley View south of Rockside Road was constructed from 1825–26, during the same years the northern section of the canal was dug. The house is a fine example of a Western Reserve home and features exhibits relating to architectural styles, construction techniques, and the Frazee family.
Points of historic interest
|Canal Exploration Center||Exhibits related to the Ohio and Erie Canal history are available at the Canal Exploration Center. The exhibits are housed in a renovated canal-era tavern that had such a colorful reputation that it was called "Hell's Half Acre." Lock 38 is located in the front.|
|Ohio and Erie Canal related structures||The Ohio and Erie Canal was constructed between 1825 and 1832, providing Ohio with a transportation system that permitted residents to conduct trade with the world. While it stopped functioning after the Great Flood of 1913, remnants and ruins of canal-related structures can be seen alongside the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Wayside exhibits explain the function of many of the structures visible from the trail.|
|Frazee House||The Frazee House was under construction in 1825 when the canal was dug through its front yard. The house was built in the Western Reserve architectural style.|
|Boston Store||This early canal-era building was owned by the Boston Land and Manufacturing Company. The store has numerous canal boat-building exhibits.|
|Peninsula Depot||The Peninsula Depot of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) is located on West Mill Street in the village of Peninsula. The depot was originally in the village of Boston, but was moved to Peninsula in the late 1960s. The building may be the only surviving combination station from the Valley Railway, which operated between Cleveland and Tuscarawas County in the late 19th century. The depot is an operating station for CVSR train rides.|
|Everett Covered Bridge||The Everett Covered Bridge—the only covered bridge in Summit County—was constructed after a local resident was killed attempting to cross the swollen Furnace Run in 1877. The bridge was destroyed by storm floodwaters in 1975 and reconstructed by the National Park Service in 1986. The bridge is located on Everett Road about 1⁄2 mile (800 m) west of Riverview Road near Everett Village.|
|Brandywine Village||Brandywine Village was conceived and founded by George Wallace, who built a sawmill next to Brandywine Falls in 1814. He encouraged others to move to the area, including his brother-in-law, who built a grist mill on the opposite side of the falls. With inexpensive land available and the presence of mills to provide lumber, flour, and corn meal, Brandywine Village began to grow. A couple of buildings remain from the village, and historic photos and remnants of building foundations can also be seen.|
|Civilian Conservation Corps structures||The Civilian Conservation Corps was responsible for the construction of several structures in the valley. Happy Days Lodge and the shelters at the Ledges, Octagon, and Kendall Lake were built of American chestnut in the late 1930s. All four structures are in the Virginia Kendall Unit of the park.|
|Stanford House||James Stanford moved to Boston Township immediately after surveying and naming it in 1806. He and his wife Polly and son George were the first homesteaders in what is today Cuyahoga Valley National Park. His son George built the stately Greek revival home in about 1830. The house accommodates meetings and retreats as a day-use facility, and tourists as a moderately priced overnight facility with nine bedrooms. The house had previously served as a youth hostel.|
|Hale Farm and Village||Hale Farm and Village is an outdoor living history museum. Costumed interpreters describe life in the Western Reserve. The village features 21 historic buildings and many talented craftspeople. The site is operated by the Western Reserve Historical Society. Craft demonstrations include glassblowing, candlemaking, broommaking, spinning and weaving, cheesemaking, blacksmithing, woodworking, sawmilling, hearth cooking, and pottery making. The farm also has oxen, sheep, cows, and gardens.|
National Register of Historic Places
||District or site
|Both||Independence to Akron||Valley Railway Historic District||Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad scenic train rides||Cuyahoga Valley between Rockside Road and Howard Street at Little Cuyahoga Valley||1985/05/17|
|Cuyahoga||Bedford||Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad Bridge||Tinkers Creek||1975/07/24|
|Cuyahoga||Brecksville—||Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge (state highway bridge)||Ohio State Route 82 and Cuyahoga River (also in Northfield, Summit County, Ohio); best viewed from Station Road Bridge Trailhead on the Towpath Trail (Riverview Road just south of Ohio State Route 82)||1986/01/06|
|Cuyahoga||Brecksville||Brecksville Trailside Museum (Cleveland Metroparks Nature Center)||Chippewa Creek Drive off Ohio State Route 82||1992|
|Cuyahoga||Valley View||Frazee, Stephen House||CVNP visitor center with limited open hours||7733 Canal Road||1976/05/04|
|Cuyahoga||Valley View||Lock 37 and Spillway Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||Fitzwater Road||1979/12/11|
|Cuyahoga||Valley View||Lock 38 and Spillway Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||Hillside Road||1979/12/11|
|Cuyahoga||Valley View||Lock 39 and Spillway Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||Canal Road||1979/12/11|
|Cuyahoga||Valley View—||Inn at Lock 38||CVNP Canal Exploration Center||7104 Canal Road, Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||1979/12/11|
|Cuyahoga||Valley View—||Tinkers Creek Aqueduct Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||Tinkers Creek||1979/12/11|
|Cuyahoga||Valley View||Wilson Feed Mill||feed and grain store||7604 Canal Road, Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||1979/12/17|
|Cuyahoga||Valley View||Ohio and Erie Canal||National Historic Landmark, 1966/11/13||Ohio State Route 631||1965/11/13|
|Summit||Bath||Hale, Jonathan Homestead - Hale Farm and Village||2686 Oak Hill Road||1973/04/23|
|Summit||Boston||Boston Land and Manufacturing Company Store (a.k.a. Boston Store)||CVNP visitor center with limited open hours||Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, Boston Mills Road||1979/12/11|
|Summit||Boston||Lock 32 Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||800 ft (240 m) north of Boston Mills Road||1979/12/11|
|Summit||Boston||Boston Mills Historic District||most buildings are private||Boston Mills Road, Stanford Road & Main Street||1992/11/09|
|Summit||Boston vicinity||Lock 33 Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||1 mi (1.6 km) south of Highland Road||1979/12/11|
|Summit||Cuyahoga Falls||Hunt House||limited open hours||2049 Bolanz Road||1993/03/12|
|Summit||Brecksville vicinity—||Station Road Bridge||East of Brecksville at Cuyahoga River||1979/03/07|
|Summit||Everett||Lock 27 Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||Approx. 400 ft (120 m) east of intersection of Riverview and Everett Roads||1993/03/12|
|Summit||Everett vicinity||Furnace Run Aqueduct Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||Furnace Run||1979/12/11|
|Summit||Everett||Everett Historic District||village is open to the public; some buildings are private residences; NPS buildings have no visitor facilities||Everett and Riverview Roads||1994/01/14|
|Summit||Ira||Lock 26 Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||3.3 mi (5.3 km) north of Ira Road||1979/12/11|
|Summit||Northfield vicinity||Wallace Farm||open to patrons of the bed & breakfast only (Inn at Brandywine Falls)||8230 Brandywine Road||1985/06/27|
|Summit||Peninsula||Everett Covered Bridge||destroyed by floodwaters in 1975; reconstructed in 1986||SW of Peninsula on Everett Road over Furnace Creek||1973/05/23|
|Summit||Peninsula||Lock 28 Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||Deep Lock Quarry Metro Park||1979/12/11|
|Summit||Peninsula||Lock 29 and Aqueduct Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||off Ohio State Route 303||1979/12/11|
|Summit||Peninsula||Lock 30 and Feeder Dam Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||off Ohio State Route 303||1979/12/11|
|Summit||Peninsula||Lock 31 Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||200 ft (61 m) east of Cuyahoga River and approx. 0.5 mi (800 m) south of Ohio Turnpike||1979/12/11|
|Summit||Peninsula—||Peninsula Village Historic District||most buildings are private; some are retail stores||Both sides of Ohio State Route 303||1974/08/23|
|Summit||Peninsula vicinity||Stanford, George, Farm||hosts meetings and retreats as a day-use facility; overnight accommodations||6093 Stanford Road||1982/02/17|
|Summit||Peninsula vicinity||Stumpy Basin Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||200 ft (61 m) east of Cuyahoga River and approx, 0.5 mi (800 m) south of Ohio Turnpike||1979/12/11|
|Summit||Peninsula vicinity||Virginia Kendall Historic District||shelter, restrooms, winter sports center||Truxell Road||1997/01/10|
|Summit||Sagamore Hills||Lock 34 Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||Highland Road||1979/12/17|
|Summit||Sagamore Hills||Lock 35 Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail||Off Ohio State Route 82||1979/12/11|
This article incorporates public domain material from the National Park Service document "https://www.nps.gov/cuva/planyourvisit/ohio-and-erie-canal-towpath-trail.htm".
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