• Kendall Hills in summer bloom by Jeffrey Gibson

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Search for Missing Woman Hillary K. Sharma Continues in Park, 8-26-2014

    Paddlers on the Cuyahoga R. are asked to report any out-of-the-ordinary items that they might see along the river between the Village of Boston and Station Rd in Brecksville. Sharma is 5’3”, 120 lbs, br hair/eyes. Have info? Call 440-546-5945. More »

  • Towpath Trail Closure

    Towpath Trail is closed from Mustill Store to Memorial Parkway for riverbank reinforcement. Detours posted. Closure will last 1 - 4 weeks into August. More »

  • Other Closures

    Valley Bridle Trail south of SR 303, across from golf course, is collapsed by river. Hard closure. Plateau Trail Bridge, north of Valley Picnic Area is closed. No detours. Plateau & Oak Hill trails are open. More »

  • Riverview Road Repaving

    Riverview Rd is being repaved from the Cuyahoga-Summit Cty line to Peninsula through Mon, 9/15. Road is open but there are still delays due to construction. Allow extra time. More »

Farming in a National Park

Lindley Barn restoration.

Lindley Barn restoration.

NPS/Ted Toth

Surrounded by the history of the valley's early farmers, modern families carry on agricultural traditions, while also introducing their own specialized practices. 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.

The Countryside Initiative program began in 1999 to rehabilitate approximately 20 picturesque old farms that operated in the valley from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. As agriculture disappeared from the valley in the 20th century, these farms fell into disrepair. Through the Countryside Initiative program, the National Park Service celebrates farming and healthy land practices that help both the farmers and land.

 

While farming in a national park is an unconventional idea in America, that is not the case elsewhere in the world. In Great Britain, for example, over 90% of national park land is privately owned. Not only is it considered natural and normal to live within the park boundaries, farming is considered the only practical way to maintain the openness, beauty, and diversity of the countryside.

For more information on the Countryside Initiative click the links to the left.

 
Oral history audio.

In Their Own Words
Click the topics to hear stories about Cuyahoga Valley life.
Click here to read the text file.

Sustainability and the Small Farm (57 seconds)
Daniel Greenfield, from the Greenfield Berry Farm, talks about what it takes to be a sustainable farmer.

Farming in a National Park (1 minute 16 seconds)
Alan Halko, from the Spring Hill Farm and Market, describes the unusual challenges of farming on National Park Service land.



Also visit the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy website, and click to learn more about the goals of the Countryside Initiative: Rethinking Farming.

Did You Know?

Image of Civilian Conservation Corps statue outside Happy Days Visitor Center.

During the Great Depression, the "boys of Company 567" of the Civilian Conservation Corps helped shape the landscape that would later become Cuyahoga Valley National Park by constructing buildings, playfields, and a lake, as well as planting over 100 acres of trees.