• Image of bluebells in the spring

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Valley Bridle Trail Partial Closure

    A section of the Valley Bridle Trail is closed across from the Brandywine Golf Course. There is no estimate of when this section will be open. Please observe all trail closures. More »

  • Plateau Trail Partial Closure

    The outer loop of the Plateau Trail is closed at the Valley Picnic Area junction for bridge repair. The bridge is now unsafe for pedestrian traffice due to accelerated erosion around the base. More »

  • Bald Eagle Closure in Effect Until July 31, 2014

    Returning bald eagles are actively tending to last year's nest within the Pinery Narrows area in CVNP. To protect the eagles from human disturbance, the area surrounding the nest tree will be closed until July 31, 2014. More »

  • Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) Bridge Construction Closures

    Rockside and Canal Visitor Center boarding sites will be closed through Apr 27. From Jan 18 - Mar 16, CVSR will operate between Akron Northside and Brecksville stations. From Mar 22 - Apr, CVSR will operate between Akron Northside and Peninsula. More »

  • Do Not Feed the Waterfowl and Birds!

    Many people enjoy feeding waterfowl and birds, but the effects of this seemingly generous act can be harmful. Regular feeding can cause: unatural behavior, pollution, overcrowding, delayed migration, and poor nutrition and disease.

  • Closure on Fishing Will Remain in Effect for Virginia Kendall Lake

    Due to the government shutdown, we were unable to survey the fish community in VK Lake as scheduled. Our survey partners (ODNR) will not be able to get into the lake until early spring of 2014. Therefore, the closure on fishing will remain in effect. More »

Making a Living

Farmers with horses.
Courtesy/Bath Township Historical Society
 

Around the world, farmers share a special bond with their land that involves faith and stewardship. Beginning with American Indian peoples 1,500 years ago, generations of Cuyahoga Valley farmers from diverse backgrounds have raised the crops and livestock necessary for survival.

 
River, railroad, and canal between Boston and Peninsula.

River, railroad, and canal between Boston and Peninsula.

NPS Collection

Throughout the last 200 years, both agriculture and the landscape significantly changed as cultural influences brought new ideas and technology to the Cuyahoga Valley. Farming greatly expanded during the Canal Era (1827 - 1850) because this interstate system gave farmers access to new markets. The Ohio & Erie Canal and later the railroads were important forces that helped subsistence farmers play a larger role in the market-driven economy. The canal also influenced the development of farm-related industries, such as cheese factories and grist mills.

While improved transportation helped farmers build up their businesses, the end of the canal marked the end of agricultural dominance in the Cuyahoga Valley. Cleveland and Akron's industrial boom in the early 20th century lured farmers into the cities in search of quicker ways to earn higher wages. Those that kept farming often had to work outside jobs in order to support their families.

After the national park was established in 1974, many of the remaining farmers sold their property to the federal government. This was often an unhappy decision. For some residents, breaking this bond with the land created a sense of loss that has lasted for decades. For others, love for the land has kept them farming, despite hardships and outside pressures.

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

Loving Farm Life (16 seconds)
Earl Foote of Valley View talks about why he became a farmer.

Life Outdoors (24 seconds)
Daniel Greenfield, of Greenfield Berry Farm, describes the rewards of his job.



Managing a successful farm involves making daily decisions about what products to grow, how to sell those goods, and how to overcome numerous challenges. Click the links to the left to learn about how past and present farmers made their living in the Cuyahoga Valley.


 

Did You Know?

Drawing of a mule driver on the Ohio & Erie Canal.

A young James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States, worked briefly as a mule boy on the Ohio & Erie Canal, an important cultural resource within Cuyahoga Valley National Park.