Our climate is changing now. In Northeast Ohio we expect to see continued rising temperatures, increased rainfall, and stronger storms in the years to come. Climate change affects how and when people can enjoy the park. It affects all living things that call this place home. As we adapt, Cuyahoga Valley National Park tries to balance protecting and supporting resilient ecosystems and cultural resources, while also ensuring people can safely access the park.
Climate change impacts vary widely and are felt beyond park boundaries. Some plants and animals are more affected than others. We will have to decide whether to resist, accept, or direct these impacts to park resources as we continue to learn more.
Cuyahoga Valley is a park for people. In a warmer, wetter future, we anticipate more days of unsafe heat for trail users or dangerous river conditions for paddlers. Beyond park boundaries, some local communities have less access to fresh air, shade, and places to play outdoors. Our region may see new arrivals from places that have experienced even more drastic climate change impacts. It will likely take extraordinary cooperation and adaptation to face these challenges together.
But there is hope. In Cuyahoga Valley’s recent history we find examples of people’s resilience and tenacity in overcoming other great challenges. And we continue to keep an eye to the future. Every year students, volunteers, and other community members help us restore park landscapes. We plant trees, we fight back invasive plants, we leave this place a little bit better than we found it. We hope future generations of people and wildlife will find refuge in the forests we plant today.
Below are stories of some of our successes. They remind us that we can face the current challenge of climate change as we have faced others in the past. They give us hope.