Friday, July 24, 2015

Ohio's only national park: Cuyahoga Valley

Tuesday we went to Ohio's only national park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park. 

Ohio has 11 other memorials and historic sites run by the National Park Service but CVNP is the only full-fledged national park. It became national recreation area in 1974 and a national park in 2000.  

The other national sites in Ohio are the William Howard Taft Home in Cincinnati; Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis in Toledo; James A. Garfield Home in Mentor; the First Ladies National Historic Site in Canton; the David Berger National Memorial (in honor of an American citizen who was one of 11 Israel athletes killed at Munich's 1972 Olympic Games) in Beachwood; Hopewell Culture Earthen Mounds National Historic Site in Chillicothe; the National Aviation Heritage Area and the Aviation National Historical Park, both in Dayton; Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial in Put-in Bay; the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Xenia; plus the North Country National Scenic Trail which runs though seven states including Ohio. I've been to the Garfield home, and we've both been to Put-in-Bay, so we've got some exploring to do.

Jim said I really didn't need to list all those parks -- but I really just did it for me as a kind of  "to do" list.

Part of Cuyahoga Valley was once a superfund site (now cleaned up). Another section was once home to the Richfield Coliseum, where the Cleveland Cavaliers played from 1974 to 1994 (now torn down). Now the entire park is 33,000 protected and beautiful acres along 22 miles of the winding Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland.  

We stopped at one of the visitors centers, walked some trails, went to Brandywine Falls, and then drove through part of the park. There's farmland, forests, meadows and it's very pretty. Afterwards we went to a brew pub called the Brew Kettle in Strongville.  We highly recommend both CVNP and the Brew Kettle. 

The Cuyahoga River as seen from near the Boston Store Visitor's Center.  That's I-271 crossing the river, which begins in Burton, Ohio -- about thirty miles due east of Cleveland as the crow flies -- and winds for 85 miles to it's mouth on Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland. There might be big freeways nearby, but  much of the park seems remote, quiet, and has 125 miles of trails.
Jim near the Tow Path Trail (that's the trail to the left) which follows the historic Ohio & Erie Canal, which opened in 1827.  The canal launched commercial development, allowed farmers to get agricultural products to eastern markets, and helped the entire area boom. Water was diverted from the Cuyahoga River to fill the canal. At the peak of the canals, Ohio had 1,000 miles of them in 44 of its 88 counties.  The ranger told us boats were towed up the canal by donkeys and horses.

The Boston Store Visitors' Center was once a store and post office that advertised selling "clothing, flour and feed."  In 1905 it became a private residence until it was purchased by the National Park Service in 1980.
This is Bev's family visiting the parks Brandywine Falls around -- from the looks of us and the fact that Brooke (back row second from right) is shorter than her cousin Ashley -- about 25 years ago.  Missing from the shot are Toby (not yet born to Don and Trudy) and Jim (not yet married to Bev).  Bev must have been the photog. Jim and I visited the falls this trip too, because the park ranger told us "that's what you do at this park."

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