• Photo of the Beaver Marsh by Jeffrey Gibson.

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Valley Picnic Area Park Lot CLosed - Plateau Trail Loop Affected

    Valley Picnic Area Parking Lot is closed for the replacement of the damaged culvert on the Plateau Trail, from dusk on Monday, September 22 to 5 p.m., Thursday, October 2, 2014. Access to Plateau Trail is via the Oak Hill Trailhead. Loop unavailable.

  • 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 »

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?

Aerial view of the winding Cuyahoga River.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park's namesake river flows north and south. The Cuyahoga River begins its 100 mile journey in Geauga County, flows south to Cuyahoga Falls where it turns sharply north and flows through CVNP. American Indians referred to the U-shaped river as Cuyahoga or "crooked river."