National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the Interior
Partnership header Making music at the Ashville festival, Blue Ridge Parkway
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Description: Since 1987, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR), Cuyahoga Valley National Park, has provided excursion passenger rail service on 26 miles of track owned by the National Park Service (NPS) in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Following the enactment of the Ohio & Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor legislation in 1996 and the development of the Corridor Management Plan, the vision of CVSR service expanded to include Canton, Ohio to the south and Cleveland, Ohio to the north.

Geographic area covered: Twenty-five miles of railroad track and right-of-way from the southern boundary of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to Canton, Ohio.

List of partners and relationships: The National Park Service, Congressman Ralph Regula, Department of Transportation, Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority, City of Canton, Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Stark County Convention and Visitors' Bureau, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR), Stark Area Regional Transit Authority, Canton Venues, Ohio & Erie Canal Association, Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad (WLE), and Canton Foundations.

Accomplishments to date: The City of Canton purchased land for the railroad station. Construction on the station has started. Venues are gearing up for summer weekend visitation. WLE and CVSR have agreed on a dispatching arrangement. A high-rail trip between Akron and Canton has taken place.

Key success factors:

  1. CVSR had a local volunteer chairperson who was a member of all the subcommittees and well-connected in the Canton community.

  2. Key players at every level in the city embraced the concept of a new amenity. They took ownership of the project and eagerly participated in meetings and committees.

Frustrations:Dealing with all the transportation, liability, insurance, and legal issues. The need to do some things concurrently and other things sequentially. The railroad industry is an entity unto itself. As someone said during this multi-year project, "I'd rather work with the federal government than work with the railroads."

Most important lessons learned to date:

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the whole situation at every stage of the process, including potential roadblocks.

  2. Timing is critical and if certain parties get ahead of the whole process, it can create problems.

What would you do differently next time: Conduct a feasibility study.

Suggested resource materials(related to the case study):

For more information:

Name: Jennifer McMahon
Affiliation: Management Assistant, Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Phone/Fax: 440-546-5908

Partnership category(ies) (check all that apply)

Fundraising __; Capital Improvements_X_; Facility Management __; Trails __; Design __; Program Delivery __; Visitor Services __; Tenant Organizations __; Concessioners __; Natural Resources Management/Restoration __; Cultural Resources __; Education/Interpretation __; Arts __; Information Services __; Transportation _X_; Mutual Aid __; Fire Management __; Planning __; Tourism _X_; Community Relations _X_;

Other ____________________________

Prepared by: Jennifer McMahon Date posted: 8/1/03
Phone: 440-546-5908

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