Cuyahoga Valley National Park   Leave a comment

Cuyahoga Valley NP 00Where Is It: From Cleveland, take I-77 15 miles south; from Akron, go 13 miles north on I-77; from the east or west, I-80 bisects the park, as does I-271

The Birth: From Wikipedia:

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 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 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. 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.

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.

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.

It Happened Here: This National Park leases farmland! From the Park’s website:

In order to preserve the valley’s pastoral landscape and protect both natural and cultural resources, the National Park Service developed a program called the Countryside Initiative. This program invites farmers to lease land and farm in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Countryside Initiative program balances the needs of the land and farmer, who must follow strict guidelines for sustainable farm management.

Size: 20,339 acres

# Visitors: 2,299,722 in 2012. Attendance peaks in July/August and is least in January/February.

Plants: There are more than 250 species of plants in the Park, includine maple, birch, beech, oak and hemlock trees. Wildflowers include Ohio spiderwort, trillium, pink lady’s slipper, violets and showy orchid.

Fees: There are no entrance fees to the Park.

Staying There: There are no campsites in the Park, though there are campgrounds in adjacent state parks.

Contact Info:

Boston Store Visitor Center
1550 Boston Mills Road
Peninsula, OH 44264
 
(330) 657-2752

Current Issues: From PublicNewsService.org:

The future of some of Ohio’s most treasured places remains uncertain as budget negotiations continue in Washington.The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) estimates Ohio lost more than $3 million in visitor spending when its national parks were closed during the government shutdown.

John Garder, the NPCA’s budget director, says he is concerned about future decisions that will impact the vitality of places, such as the Cuyahoga Valley National Park or Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.

“The shutdown of the federal government and the closure of all our national parks,” he explains, “was a more dramatic chapter in an otherwise troubling history that is threatening the care of our national treasures, threatening the opportunity for Americans to visit these places, and threatening the economies of local communities.”

Garder adds the NPCA’s own bipartisan polling showed that nine in 10 Americans don’t want national park funding to be cut.

Don’t Miss This: From National Parks Traveler:

Beyond the towpath, a cursory glance of the map presents a huge number of options to pick from. But how do you choose between such alluring names as Lost Meadows and Crow Foot Gully? Read up on a few parks and visit whichever sound most appealing. There are a few you should make sure not to miss:

Virginia Kendall: This park offers trails that will take you above, below, and around magnificent geological formations. The trails are full of ledges and overlooks, bridges and creeks. There is also a large open field near the parking lot, popular for picnics and cookouts. There are a couple different trails to choose from, and I recommend the Ledges Trail. It contains a scenic overlook (which are difficult to come by in the thick hilly forests of the valley), stunning rock formations carved by glaciers, and the small but intriguing Icebox Cave. The trail is as easy or as difficult as you choose to make it. Staying on the path will make for a calm, gentle trek, but clambering over rock piles and through steep stone passages along the way exponentially intensifies the experience.

Brandywine Falls: While it there isn’t much of a path leading up to it, this beautiful natural waterfall is the site of countless weddings and wedding photos. You’re not supposed to deviate from the boardwalk, but if you hop off the platform (carefully), your experience will gain another dimension entirely. The waterfall is just off Stanford Road, as is the Brandywine Gorge Trail, which you needn’t traverse to get to the falls but will make a nice addition to your visit. It’s a fairly easy walk that takes you down to the creek where the water has gradually exposed strata of sandstone and shale.

Blue Hen Falls: While smaller than Brandywine, Blue Hen Falls is just as beautiful. It also has its own trail, which calls for a little improvisation at parts and makes for a rather adventurous trek. The trail is just off of Boston Mills Road and is about moderate in difficulty. The waterfall is toward the beginning, and the trail doesn’t really have a definitive conclusion. It disappears into the creek near the Boston Mills ski resort, leaving you to decide whether to wander on aimlessly or head back up the path.

Tinker’s Creek Gorge: A river carving a little canyon and pouring out in yet another waterfall. It can be explored from the Bedford Reservation, which is worth a gander itself. Hop on the Gorge Parkway Trail at Alexander Road for a challenging six-mile hike to the gorge scenic overlook and bridal falls.

More

National Park Service: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

National Parks Traveler: Birding In The National Parks

TerraGalleria: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2012/03/birding-national-parks-spring-visit-cuyahoga-valley-national-park9670

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