Celebrating a River Fire
On June 22, 1969, the Cuyahoga River caught on fire in Cleveland a few miles north of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It was not the first Cuyahoga River fire. At least ten fires had occurred over the previous century. It was also not the biggest fire. It lasted for less than a half hour and caused modest damage. Despite its small size, it holds a big place in our memory as a reflection of poor treatment of the environment.
Fifty years have passed since the fire, and anniversary activities will occur throughout the year. Activities will not only commemorate the fire, but also feature the response to the fire and changes that followed. Much of this story is positive and inspirational. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is part of the story. Established five years after the fire in 1974, the park now protects 22 miles of the river and 33,000 acres of its watershed.