• 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

    NPS has 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 »

Environmental Factors

Cuyahoga_River_Herb_Farm_Ted_Toth

Water quality of the Cuyahoga River is improving.

©TED TOTH

Cuyahoga Valley National Park's proximity to large urban areas, long history of use, and high visitation make it vulnerable to a variety of environmental concerns. More than two million people live within a short drive of the park, and the traffic, nearby development, and associated pollution can affect park resources. Water quality in the park's rivers and streams varies from good to poor. The Cuyahoga River, although much improved from its days as the "river that burned," still has some pollution problems. Air pollution in northeast Ohio, especially unsafe amounts of ground level ozone, can become an issue on hot, hazy summer days.

The Cuyahoga Valley has a long history of human habitation and use. It is, therefore, no surprise that disturbed lands are common in the park. Lands now within the park had many different uses in the past, including conventional agriculture; mining of topsoil, sand, and gravel; quarries; dumps; industry; and residential development. The park has often initiated actions to restore degraded areas to a more natural state when natural succession processes are insufficient. Many of these areas are now in various stages of succession, giving visitors the opportunity to see butterflies, birds, and other animals taking advantage of plentiful food and shelter.

Nonnative species are another threat to the park's natural and scenic resources. Frequent disturbance probably contributed to the park's approximately 186 exotic plant species, ten of which are considered invasive and a threat to native plant species. The park is working to inventory, monitor, and control invasive plants. Gypsy moths, an exotic insect species from Europe, defoliated over 4,000 acres of forest in 1999. The park has since implemented a suppression program to help minimize and mitigate further moth defoliation effects.

Park staff, volunteers, university researchers, local organizations, and other agencies help monitor these and other environmental concerns to identify problems, establish trends, and assist in management decisions.

Did You Know?

Photo of Bald Eagle taken in Cuyahoga Valley National Park where an eagle pair built their first nest in 2006. Photo by Martin Trimmer.

November is the time to be on the lookout for bald eagles performing aerial courtship displays. Once eagles have selected each other, they plunge through the air in very high dives, locking their talons and breaking apart just when it looks as though they will crash to the ground.