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Environment


Cuyahoga Valley National Park map out future trails
Mountain bike trails, campsites, and canoe launches possible
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI


Senior Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
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In The Region:

    Officials of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park are considering making changes to the trail system in the park.  They’ve released a draft Trail Management Plan that could be the blueprint for the park over the next 15 years.     The document offers eight different options.  And WKSU’s Mark Urycki reports officials are asking the public for comments

 

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If you include the Summit and the Cleveland MetroPark trails that connect to the Cuyahoga Valley, the national park has 174 miles of trails. That could increase by 50 miles if one alternative is adopted.

At the other end is an option that calls for no changes.

Up till now, the park has been working off a plan written in 1985. Judging by visitors, that seems to have worked pretty well. The 33-thousand-acre park routinely ranks as one of the top ten most visited national parks in the country.   Just this week, USA Today ranked it number 7.

 But Superintendent Stan Austin the park’s been getting some pressure over the years to make changes.

"A lot of it’s from public demand and requests and  thoughts.  Now as a new Superintendent  there’s a lot of things I’d like to see in the vision. And that would be multiple uses in the park whether it’s visitors’ centers or services.   We get questions all the time about camping and mountain biking.  Now we’re putting it before the public to help us make that determination.”

Mountain bike trails, water access

Park planners have come up with ten possible launch sites where canoers and kayakers could access the Cuyahoga River.  On most days, the river water is not yet clean enough, but officials say they are thinking ahead.

They’ve also identified six possible campsites, three along the Towpath trail and three along the Buckeye Trail.  Right now the park has just one campsite.

And one plan calls for mountain bike trails – mostly narrow single track lanes, says trail planner Lynn Garrity.

"In the preferred alternative [option 5] it’;s looking at a loop system.  We haven’t really determined the one-way or two-way [traffic].  It would probably be set up as a one way system. That’s one of the logistics that needs to get laid out.

The mountain bike trails would likely connect to the bike-and-hike trail along the eastern rim of the park and be just north of Route 303.

Of the eight options, park officials highlight Number 5 as their preferred alternative.  It would add 37 miles of trails -- 10 miles for mountain bikes -- and more than 30 miles of bike lanes on public roads.   It also would include three public water launches.

The tricky balance for planners is to meet the demand for recreation and the demand for quiet, natural areas.   Deputy Superintendent Paul Stoehr says that’s the challenge of wise stewardship.

"That’s a continual challenge.  It’s important to identify this as something other than a public vote.   We – being the National Park Service-  retain the responsibility for managing these lands in a responsible way based on the policies and the mission of the National Park Service.”

 The public can’t vote but can make it opinions known.   The National Park will hold three public hearings in late July and is accepting written comments on its website.


Public Meetings

Tuesday, July 24, Cleveland Metroparks, Canalway Center, 4524 E. 49th Street, Cleveland 44125 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 25, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Happy Days Lodge, 500 W. Streetsboro Road, Peninsula 44264 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 26, Akron Main Library, 60, S. High Street, Akron 44326 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.


Related Links & Resources
Trail Management Plan documents

Cuyahoga Valley Alternative Maps PDF Download


Related WKSU Stories

CVNP looks at adding mountain biking to park usage
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New head of CVNP promises changes
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Indoor park is a mecca for mountain bikers
Thursday, January 31, 2008

Listener Comments:

TO SOMEONE WHO LISTENS: AS A LIFELONG RESIDENT OF CUYAHOGA COUNTY AND A FREQUENT VISITOR TO ITS NATIONAL PARK I WILL FOREVER QUESTION THE COMMON SENSE USED BY YOU DECISION MAKERS ON THE PARKS USE. FOR STARTERS YOU EXIST AMONG A LARGE GROUP OF MUNICIPALITIES THAT YOU DO NOT PAY A PENNY OF TAX TO AND HAVE NO/MINIMAL LIABILITY TO THE PARKS USERS. THE PUBLISHED PARK USE STUDY IDENTIFIES A HORSE AS THE MOST DESRTUCTIVE TO THE PARK ECO-SYSTEM FOLLOWED BY A 4-WHEELER THEN MOTORCYCLE,YET THE SECOND LEAST DESTRUCTIVE AFTER A PEDESTRIAN,A MOUNTAIN BIKE,CANNOT BE ACCOMODATED.SEASONAL RESTRICTIONS HAVE NEVER BEEN IMPLEMENTED AGAINST HORSE USERS TO PREVENT ECO-SYSTEM DESTRUCTION BUT YET YOUR RANGERS CONTINUE TO PURSUE/THREAT'EN MOUNTAIN BIKERS SIMPLY RIDING ON ESTABLISHED TRAILS IN THE WOODS. YES, THREAT'EN WITH THE USE OF A TASER. I WITNESSED A GUY GET A TICKET FOR UNAUTHORIZED TRAIL USE LAST YEAR AND SPOKE WITH HIM AFTER THE HE WAS RELASED AND COULD NOT BELIEVE THAT AN INDIVIDUAL RIDING A BICYCLE,ALONE,IN THE WOODS IS WORTHY OF A TAZER AND MIGHT NOT HERE A RANGERS COMMANDS. I DON'T KNOW YOUR DEPARTMENTS POLICY ON THE USE OF FORCE BUT I'M WILLING TO BELIEVE THAT RISKING THE POSSIBILITY OF SEVERE INJURY DUE TO UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A TRAIL IS A BIT EXCESSIVE. I FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE THAT A JURY WILL SIDE WITH YOUR POLICY/VERY SIMILAR TO A POLICE OFFICER SHOOTING A PERSON IN THE BACK AS HE RUNS WITHOUT A WEAPON.
IT ALSO SEEMS THAT THE PARK IS NEGLECTING THE OBVIOUS PROBLEM WITH THE OVER-POPULATION OF DEER IN ITS ECO-SYSTEM.HAVING HIKED MANY MILES OVER THE YEARS IT HAS BECOME APPARENT THAT THE HARDWOOD TREES ARE NOT GOING TO REPLENISH THEMSELVES NATURALLY DUE TO THE DEER EATING THE NEW SEEDLINGS. BY THE END OF JULY/AUGUST YEARLY YOU CAN VISUALLY SEE THE "BROWSE LINE" DESTRUCTION CAUSED BY THE DEER AS WELL. I AM NOT A BIOLOGIST AND IN THIS CASE DON'T HAVE TO BE TO SEE THAT SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED.PARKS ARE ABOUT PRESERVATION AND KILLING DEER IS NOT PRSERVATION,BUT IT NEEDS TO BE DONE. THEY SHOOT DEER IN THE METROPARKS ADJACENT TO CUYAHOGA VALLEY TO CONTROL THEM! AS YOUR SYSTEM STRUGGLES LIKE MANY PEOPLE/BUSINESS FOR MONEY,I'M CERTAIN THAT OUTDOORSMEN WOULD JUMP @ THE OPPORTUNITY TO PUCHASE A PERMIT TO HARVEST A DEER AND HELP WITH THE PROBLEM.
AS I AGE MANY THINGS BECOME MORE OBVIOUS AND THIS APPLIES TO YOUR PARK SYSTEM AS WELL. THE OBVIOUS REAL NEEDS THAT DAMAGE THE ECO-SYSTEM DO NOT GET ADDRESSED AND ARE IGNORED WHILE THE PUBLIC FUNDED SYSTEM USES TAX PAYER DOLLARS TO CREATE PROBLEMS WITH EASY TARGETS(DOGS,MOUNTAIN BIKES,HIKERS) TO ACQUIRE MORE PUBLIC DOLLARS THROUGH FINES FROM TAXPAYERS THAT MAY NOT FOLLOW EVERY RULE TO THE "T" ,BUT ARE NOT REALLY ONE OF THE CORE PROBLEMS FOR THE SYSTEM.


Posted by: ROBERT JAMES (CLEVELAND) on April 11, 2013 2:04AM
I don't mind having trails for mountain bikers. I do mind, however, having mountain bikers on running and bridal trails. I've already had troubles with horses on the bridal trails -- spooking them even though I'm doing everything right, horses tearing apart the trails when it's been wet -- that I can't imagine if bikers who travel at much faster speeds were on the same trails as the rest of us.


Posted by: L. Taucher (Akron, OH) on June 26, 2012 10:06AM
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