Which National Park Inspired Earth Day?

The one with the river that caught on fire from factory waste. It was also the sewage dump for nearby cities. So basically it got a lot of love from the community. In 1969, oil-soaked logs (how does THAT happen?) caught on fire and the river burned with it.

As both the fire and the news spread, the U.S. changed.  The Environmental Protection Agency was created and laws were passed for pollution control. To involve the general public with environmental living, the first Earth Day was held in 1970.

So which park? Cuyahoga Valley National Park, just outside of Cleveland OH.

A National Park is a Local Exercise Joint

3.8 million people visit Yosemite every year; 2.5 million visit Cuyahoga. Now, how many of you have heard of Cuyahoga? Exactly the point.

Located near Cleveland and Akron, this gorgeous spot is perfect for daily and weekend treks. A stellar bike trail, hiking, walks, fishing. Sure, all parks have this, but Cuyahoga is accessible by proximity, scale, and skill in a way that I haven’t experienced at other parks. The volume of people who were outside and active was inspiring and endearing.

The Ledges

An ominous name for a calming hike. The air is green with trees, moss, and ferns.

The Ledges at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The path starts at the stop of the ledges, and they are spooky to look over and between. Once at their base (an easy slant), it’s an amazing view of rock layered like planks of wood.

The Ledges at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The duration of the hike depends on you: pace, photo stops, gazing. Plus, be prepared for Boy Scouts who scramble over boulders like they’re water.

Seeing Green at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Ledges are divine on their own. They also reminded me of a beloved visit to the Beartown State Park in WV.

The Ledges at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Beaver Marsh Trail

Beavers changed the river flow and the result is lovely. Herons, snapping turtles, lillypads. Unfortunately my visit was cut short by rain. But I wouldn’t have stayed until dusk to see the work-a-holic beavers anyway. Why do all the best animals come out dusk? (she says with a pout)

Beaver Marsh in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Beaver Marsh in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga gave me insight into the “smaller” parks. I thought that I preferred the majesty of destinations, but learned about the glory of spaces meant for daily encounters.


What do you like to do at National Parks?

2 Responses


beautiful photos paula—i envy you your time here—thanks for sharing this—by the way, we enjoyed the photo of your desk along the shore of a lake, the thought of it was calming.
stanislawa recently posted..safely hidden in the earthMy Profile

thanks, sweet friend!

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