River Renewal Underway

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ollie the otter drawing
Ollie the Otter

Restoring the Cuyahoga

To play our part in improving the health of the watershed, the national park and its partners are embarking on a number of large-scale restoration projects.

The projects will result in long-term benefits to the Cuyahoga River, but occasional short-term closures to public use of the Towpath Trail and other areas in the park. The National Park Service is working to finalize dates for the projects. However, at this time, we are unable to predict when the short term closures will occur.

We will notify the public about any closures of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Stay up to date by checking our alerts page.

Also be sure to keep an eye out for Ollie the Otter! Anytime you see him, it is a reminder that our River Renewal is Underway!

Spring/Summer 2020

Canal Dredging

  • In March 2020, contractors removed debris from the canal trace to better preserve the historic alignment and improve water movement. Dredging has enhanced the cultural resources along the canal and the river and removed significant sediment from the canal.

Brecksville Dam Removal

  • Dam removal was completed in May - June 2020. Removal of the concrete diversion dam and wooden Pinery Dam restored a more natural flow to the river, improved water quality, improved safety of recreational use of the river and allowed for migration of native aquatic species.The contractors will install a screw pump near the Pinery Feeder Gate in 2021. This will control water levels in the nearby section of the canal. The river and access along the railroad tracks has reopened. The loop trail off the Towpath remains closed.

Fall 2020/Winter 2021

Repairs to Station Road Pedestrian Bridge

  • The historic bridge was cleaned and painted and the decking was removed and replaced. Read more about the bridge's history and the restoration project here.

Stream Restoration at Towpath Trail - Boston Trailhead

  • The full scope of work is still being determined. Closures of Towpath Trail and Boston Trailhead are possible.

Coming Up in 2021

Station Road Parking Stormwater Management

  • Installation of sub-surface containment cells that will collect and hold run-off from the parking area and allow for greater recharge, reduce discharge of stormwater run-off directly to river and improve water quality. Work will affect the Station Road trailhead and parking lot, reduces the number of cars able to park at this location, and affects access to Towpath and to river access location.

Army Corps of Engineers Floodplain Restoration

  • Work would involve the reshaping of areas of the floodplain directly adjacent to the river. Work will affect both sides of the river from Station Road south one mile. Work will impact Towpath Trail access and Station Road parking, and possibly affect river access. Possible closures to Towpath Trail between Station Road and Red Lock.

Stream Restoration at Station Road

  • Realigning a drainage pattern that was established with the historic road construction so that stormwater runoff is redirected to an established wetland eliminating a discharge directly to the river. Work will affect parking lot capacity.

Ongoing Projects

Habitat Restoration and River Access Improvements - Lock 39

  • Most of the vegation is invasive Japanese knotweed and honeysuckle. The habitat restoration project involves removal of invasive plants and replanting with native species that will improve wildlife habitat and provide improved erosion control.

  • Phase two of the project will involve improving the river access trail, adding signage to delineate access, and eventually barnstones to improve paddler's ability to enter and exit the river at Lock 39.

Wetmore Habitat and Wetland Restoration

  • Improve water quality, enhance wildlife habitat, and decrease erosion through the removal invasive species on over 110 acres of degraded habitat including fields, former wetlands, and previously forested land.

  • Reforest approximately 29 acres of former pasture, and establish woody vegetation along about 700-linear feet of Dickerson Run.

  • Create a small (less than half acre) wetland to retain stormwater runoff and improve the condition of up to 1,000-linear feet of streams near the Wetmore Trailhead parking lot using a technique called regenerative stormwater conveyance. This is a technique for restoring streams with a series of steps and pools.

  • Most of the work will be done by park staff and volunteers.

  • The site was be mowed to prepare it for reforestation efforts. Reforestation began in September 2019 and continued through the fall of 2020.

  • Reforestation and restoration will include planting native species such as sycamore, red maple, and cottonwood.

Boston Area Improvements

  • Parking has been reconfigured near Boston Store to improve pedestrian flow and access to facilities and services.
  • Some hardened surfaces are planned to be removed to reduce runoff into the Cuyahoga River.
  • A pedestrian bridge over the Cuyahoga River will be constructed to provide safe access between Boston Mill Visitor Center and the Boston Store area. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2022 and last approximately 6 months. The project is managed by the Office of the Summit County Engineer.

Stanford Run Restoration

  • Stanford Run has been modified over the years by agricultural activities, construction of the Ohio & Erie Canal, and regional development. The stream was cut off from the Cuyahoga River and a large wetland of invasive plants formed. As a result, Stanford Road regularly flooded. From winter 2019 to winter 2020, the US Army Corps of Engineers installed a larger culvert under the Towpath Trail and excavated a new meandering stream channel. Volunteers planted about 1,000 native trees. Construction has been completed, but habitat restoration continues.

Jaite Mill Remediation

  • Continuation of evaluation and mitigation of contamination and contaminated soils that currently exist on the site and environs of the historic Jaite Paper Mill. Work will involve closures to Towpath and Valley Bridle Trail between Boston and Red Lock.

River Access Improvements

  • The park is currently working on improvements to existing access and adding new river access points for wildlife viewing, paddling, and fishing. Current access exists at Lock 29, Boston, Red Lock, Station Road, and Lock 39 (Rockside Rd.).

A group of volunteers carry tools in a forested area to remove invasive species.
A group of volunteers carry tools in a forested area to remove invasive species.

NPS Photo


Get Involved!

Are you interested in helping restore the health of the Cuyahoga River? Join us for one of our many habitat restoration volunteer opportunities.

Last updated: April 6, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

15610 Vaughn Road
Brecksville, OH 44141


(440) 717-3890

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