• Photo of the Beaver Marsh by Jeffrey Gibson.

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

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  • 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 »

Great Blue Herons

Great blue heron

Great blue heron.


The great blue heron is an impressive and increasingly common sight in the Cuyahoga Valley.

The success of nesting colonies in the valley is a reflection of favorable habitat created by beavers, along with protection of the valley by the National Park Service; Cleveland Metroparks; Metro Parks, Serving Summit County; the City of Akron; and other organizations and individuals.

To learn more about great blue herons and the best places to observe them, read our Great Blue Herons site bulletin.

Read the Great Blue Heron Monitoring Report for 2012.

View the gallery below for some photos taken at the valley's heronries. Click on individual photos for each photographer's name and click here for copyright restrictions.


Inspirational Poetry
Jill Sell, co-founder of the Cuyahoga Valley Nature Writers, wrote this award-winning poem inspired by our valley's herons.


surely this is something
only Dr. Seuss would have imagined
hundreds of unkempt stick nests
mere platforms
perched precariously
lined with moss, twigs, pine needles
feathers and prayer
on upper limbs
of condo trees

repaired year after year
some four feet across
others, less stable
only for nerd birds, outcasts

great blue heron
big cranky
long john
blue crane
---whatever its name on
the apartment door---
settles down
folding seven-foot wingspan

even from its lofty perch
bird sticks neck out
keeps watch
for salamanders, frogs, snakes
to be speared like a shish-kebob
(the greedy have been known to die
trying to swallow a fish too large)

suddenly a train roars by
beneath the colony
whistle blows
herons rise from homes
flapping indignation
but return at once
not having locked themselves out --
a bird benefit


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.