• Photo of the Beaver Marsh by Jeffrey Gibson.

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

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  • NPS Seeks Comment on Proposed Regulation for Off-Road Bicycle Trails

    NPShas proposed a special regulation to designate and authorize off-road bicycle use on new trails constructed outside of developed areas in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The public is invited to provide comment until Monday, December 15, 2014. 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 »


1913 flood, Peninsula.

1913 flood, Peninsula.

NPS Collection

Farming in a floodplain requires a certain acceptance of natural forces. The Cuyahoga River and its tributaries normally flood throughout the year, especially during the spring. The effects are not all bad. Stormwater washing into the floodplain deposits sediments that replenish the soil.

Periodically, devastating floods sweep the region and beyond. The most famous is the Great Flood of 1913. It swept away homes, barns, livestock, and more. The Ohio & Erie Canal was so overwhelmed that some structures had to be dynamited to release the water and the canal never recovered.

2004 flood.

Cuyahoga Valley flood, 2004.

NPS Collection

Click to read a dramatic first-hand account of the 1913 flood. Urvan Murphy and his family survived the 1913 flood, but the rising waters damaged their home and fields. The historic Murphy Farm was located between the Cuyahoga River and the canal, just south of present-day Station Road Bridge Trailhead.

In the 21st century, Cuyahoga Valley farmers continue to deal with high water and crop loss. With increased land development and more numerous severe storms, water now pulses more rapidly into streams that feed the Cuyahoga River, threatening downstream communities. Despite this hardship, farmers find help from their neighbors and work together to rebuild homes and businesses.

Oral history audio.

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

Cuyahoga River (1 minute 13 seconds)
Henry Fortlage, who grew up in Independence, talks about the Cuyahoga River and why it is prone to floods.

Flooding and Help from Friends (1 minute 11 seconds)
Earl Foote, a Valley View farmer, talks about the flooding challenges he faces almost every year.

Did You Know?

Historic photo of canal boat on the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Lock 27 along the Ohio & Erie Canal became known as Johnnycake Lock after several boats ran aground due to flooding. While stranded, supplies ran low and canal passengers and crew ate only corn meal pancakes, known as "johnnycakes".