Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located in northeast Ohio, between the cities of Cleveland and Akron. The park holds about 20,339 acres of protected land that occurs along the Cuyahoga River. Before the area was established as a national park, the valley became a popular place for 1870s city dwellers to relax on boat rides or carriage rides.

The establishment of the park began in 1910 and continued through the 1920’s, during which time the Akron and Cleveland metropolitan parks were created. These regional parks offered some protection to the ecosystems within them, but by the 1960’s some residents became concerned that urban development could negatively affect the Cuyahoga Valley. Citizens cooperated with the state and national government to stop this from occurring, and in 1947, President Gerald Ford signed a bill that established the valley as a national recreation area. In 1985, the National Park Service acquired Krejci Dump and included the 47-acre piece of land into the recreation area. However, after a requested study, the Environmental Protection Agency found that there were toxic materials in the area and it was shut down in 1986 and renamed a superfund site. This area is still being restored. The Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area became a national park in 2000, under the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers activities like biking and hiking along trails. The main hiking trail, known as Towpath Trail, follows the Ohio & Erie Canal, which was built between the years of 1825 and 1832. The park holds several museums and tours that educate visitors about the canal and its history. Natural features of the park include caves, waterfalls, rolling floodplains, rivers, and farmland. There are many species of animal in the park as well including beavers. The park offers many other attractions including displays of 1920s and 1930s farming areas, outdoor concerts, art exhibits, and sledding during the winter season in Happy Days Park.

Image Caption: An example of stone formations found in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Credit: Taximes/Wikipedia