"" Writer's Wanderings: The Crooked River - Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Crooked River - Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Senecas and the Mohawks each had a name for the river that divides east from west in the Cleveland area. The Mohawks named it Cuyohaga which meant "place of the jawbone" probably because it makes quite a turn near Akron on its way from Geauga County to Lake Erie. The Senecas however named it Cuyahoga which meant "crooked" and that was the name that stuck.

There is a bridge on Route 82 that passes over the Cuyahoga Valley and in this time of early spring with the trees just getting their spring green dressing, it is breathtaking. As we cross over and I look out into the valley I can only imagine the awe that must have been in the hearts of those who first settled here.

Not only is our river  a gem but the valley which is largely owned by the National Park Service is teeming with wildlife and adventure. Those reports of the Cuyahoga catching fire are true but it seems that it is all old history now as the approach of the last fire nears the fiftieth anniversary mark. The river has been cleaned up thanks to many volunteers and ecology minded industry leaders.

The Erie Canal that runs parallel to the river between Akron and Canton has a tow path that has been restored and extended. Blue herons, eagles and river otters can be found along the waterways. Plans are being made for canoeing the river. A new visitor center is on the horizon in addition to several already there. And of course there is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway that makes available all sorts of train adventures including the Polar Express during the holiday season.

The CVNP is one of the few national parks that is free to explore. Lots to learn. Lots to see. Much to explore. Enjoy!

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