Cuyahoga Valley National Park receives $14 million to improve infrastructure for towpath trail and railroad

Two people on bicycles on a flat trail surrounded by fall forest colors with the river to the left.
9/28/2022
Last edited 10/6/2022

National Park Service
News Release Date: September 27, 2022
Contact: Pamela Barnes, 440-241-5857

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio – Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) has received approximately $14 million through the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to assure continued access to recreational experiences in CVNP. The project will stabilize the riverbank at sites along the Cuyahoga River where erosion threatens the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail and the tracks for Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Work is expected to begin in October and continue through early 2025. Updates, including any necessary short-term closures, will be posted on the park website.

"The towpath trail and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad are centerpieces of the park experience that are very close to the Cuyahoga River. Being that close to the river offers beautiful views, but it also presents constant and costly maintenance challenges” said Lisa Petit, Cuyahoga Valley National Park superintendent. “This project will allow us to proactively manage infrastructure that provides safe and enjoyable recreational experiences while we protect and enhance our most important natural resource, the Cuyahoga River”

The eight locations include two priority sections of Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and six locations along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.

A design-build contract has been awarded to an Akron construction company that also successfully completed an emergency stabilization project earlier this year at another site in the park. Once the design is complete, work will include clearing the riverbank, placing rip rap and live stakes (branches placed directly into the soil that will root and grow), regrading and planting native vegetation to stabilize the soil. Each site will have a unique design based on individual site characteristics. After the stabilization methods are implemented, the contractor will remediate the construction site and equipment access routes.

CVNP is consistently one of the most visited national park sites in the country, and park visitation contributes to the local economy. In 2021, 2.6 million visitors spent an estimated $48.7 million in local gateway regions while visiting the park. The spending is estimated to have supported over 681 jobs, $26.5 million in labor income, $41.9 million in value added and $75.1 million in economic output in local gateway economies.

Infrastructure funding from GAOA and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are part of a concerted effort to address the extensive deferred maintenance and repair backlog in national parks. Supported by revenue from energy development, GAOA’s Legacy Restoration Fund provides up to $1.3 billion per year for five years to make significant enhancements in national parks to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education and enjoyment for current and future visitors. 

 

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