The 2016 American Solar Challenge Starts In Cuyahoga Valley National Park on Friday

Jul 24, 2016

Solar-powered cars like these will spend eight days traveling through nine Midwestern national parks during this year's American Solar Challenge, which begins Friday in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Credit AMERICAN SOLAR CHALLENGE

An eight-day, solar-powered road rally kicks off this week in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The American Solar Challenge takes place every two years, and features solar-powered cars built by college students.  This year’s event will hit nine national parks in celebration of the National Park Service’s centennial.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park spokeswoman Jennie Vasarhelyi says the event is a perfect fit given the park's focus on sustainability and climate change.

“Solar cars – alternative transportation – are one means to get to a sustainable future.  So that’s why we’re interested in hosting this event.”

Vasarhelyi adds that the event speaks to the relationship between people and the environment.

“Being a national park in an urban area, I think we really show what the human relationship to the environment is, and how important it is on a daily basis.  How important it is to have preservation and things that really think about the natural environment in our daily lives – not just far away.”

About 20 teams will cover close to 2,000 miles, traveling from here to South Dakota.  The cars will be available for public viewing on Friday afternoon, and then leave from the Station Road Bridge Trailhead in the Brecksville Reservation on Saturday morning.