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Contact: Pamela Barnes, 440-241-5857
Cuyahoga Valley National Park News Release
For Immediate Release - Thursday, August 6, 2020
Pamela Barnes, CVNP, 440-241-5857 (cell) or email@example.com
Brecksville Dam removal completed
River open for recreation
[Brecksville, OH] – The Brecksville Diversion Dam and historic Pinery Feeder Dam have been removed, and the Cuyahoga River is now free-flowing in Brecksville for the first time in over 190 years. As a result, the river is open for recreational use. It had been closed above and below the dams during removal. Paddlers can now travel the river through Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) and on into Cleveland.
The section of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail closest to the river remains closed. A parallel section still allows through travel.
The next step in the project is to design and install a pump at the location where the Pinery Feeder Dam had provided water to the Ohio & Erie Canal. The canal section between Wilson Feed Mill and Rockside Road in Valley View is designated as a National Historic Landmark. This section includes the restored Lock 38 in front of Canal Exploration Center. The canal will remain dry until the pump is installed in 2021, which will restore the water source to this important historical resource. The park will take action to improve the condition of the canal during this time.
The National Park Service (NPS) has collaborated with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, US Army Corps of Engineers, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Cleveland Metroparks and Friends of the Crooked River for ten years to achieve the dam removal. This project was funded in part through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). Information about the process and a photo gallery are available on the National Park Service website.
CVNP Superintendent Craig Kenkel said, “Organizations and individuals throughout the region have been working for decades to rewrite the narrative about the Cuyahoga River - from a source of shame and a symbol of environmental degradation to a source of pride and a symbol of renewal. We made it a point to align our goals with the phenomenal work that has made the Cuyahoga River the success story that it is today.”
In 2016, CVNP began a focused five-year effort to restore the condition and reputation of the Cuyahoga River within the national park. Since then, the NPS has collaborated beyond park boundaries with numerous partners to create the Cuyahoga River Water Trail, embarked on major environmental restoration projects in partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers, is exploring the possibility of designating the section of the river within CVNP under the Wild and Scenic Rivers program and is working alongside other stakeholders towards removal of the river from the USEPA list of Environmental Areas of Concern.
Removal of the dams is a major milestone in achieving Wild and Scenic Rivers designation and getting the river de-listed as an Area of Concern. The single action of removing the dams has brought about significant improvements in water quality, wildlife habitat, and recreational access.
The Brecksville Diversion Dam had been a major obstacle in the Cuyahoga River, requiring paddlers to portage around it. The Cuyahoga is a diverse river, with sections suitable for beginner, intermediate and expert paddling skill levels. Paddlers should assess river conditions and their own skills prior to a trip. For more information, visit https://cuyahogariverwatertrail.org/.
CVNP encompasses 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Managed by the National Park Service, CVNP combines cultural, historical, recreational, and natural activities in one setting. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/cuva, www.facebook.com/cuyahogavalleynationalpark, or call 440-717-3890.
Last updated: August 6, 2020