When your state only has one national park, you’d better hope it’s a good one. Luckily for Cleveland hikers, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is well-worth the trip. The name is Mohawk for “crooked river,” and the park follows the winding river from Cleveland to Akron over a 51-square-mile area.The park itself is a hidden sanctuary for Cleveland’s natural history, encompassing a landscape and diversity that you wouldn’t expect so close to the city. Among other species, the endangered Indiana bat makes its home in the floodplains and forests of the Cuyahoga Valley. Other bats and birds also make their home within the park, which has been disturbed in recent times by a number of invasive plants. The National Park Service is currently working on combating these species, which can crowd out animals’ natural habitats and food.In addition to plants and animals, the Cuyahoga Valley has historically provided a resting place for Ohio settlers. During the 1870s, people traveled from the cities for carriage rides and boat trips in the canal, which led to the construction of the Valley Railroad in 1880. Prominent businessman Hayward Kendall donated 430 acres in the valley, which became the foundations of today’s nationally protected site. Read the rest of this entry »
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The medieval English surrounded their castles with moats of water to ward off enemies. If anything, though, the ring of parks surrounding Cleveland, Ohio only serve to make the city more appealing, as if their beauty and serenity were beckoning outsiders to come closer. Spread out over 22,000 acres, the Metroparks system offers plenty of trails for Cleveland hikers to investigate. There are 16 different reservations in all, five of which encircle the citythe rest speckle the landscape around the ring.The Cleveland Metroparks were officially named before the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. In 1917, engineer William Stinchcomb achieved the first step toward his long-standing vision of an interconnected system of parks. This was when the General Assembly appointed a park board expressly for developing the new system. However, the buildup of the parks themselves was slowby 1930, 9,000 acres had been purchased across nine different sites, but they were not connected. By 1970, the board had purchased 16,000 acres. The park has grown 6,000 acres since then. Read the rest of this entry »