On January 13, 2022, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) near Brecksville, Ohio launched a $2 million project to remove vacant structures and restore natural landscapes throughout the park.
Funded by the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), the enhancements will provide increased recreational opportunities for park visitors. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2022.
“CVNP was created to protect and restore the Cuyahoga River valley and provide recreational open space for people,” said Lisa Petit, Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s superintendent.
“This project will revitalize 12 acres of park land by returning it to its natural condition and help us provide visitors with a safer, more enjoyable experience,” she added.
With more than 2.8 million visitors in 2020, CVNP is one of the most popular national parks in the country.
This GAOA funding enables the park to take on a long-anticipated project that supports its mission to provide vital green space and recreational opportunities for public enjoyment.
The 33 non-historic buildings and their surrounding areas were acquired decades ago with the intention of dismantling the structures and reforesting and restoring the land for public use.
Reforestation also helps meet the goals outlined in the park’s Climate Action Plan and Strategic Action Plan.
The removal of the buildings, some of which have been vandalized and pose a safety hazard, will eliminate more than $7 million of maintenance backlog for these facilities.
The contractor selected for this project is a certified veteran-owned, local business.
GAOA’s National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund, supported by revenue from energy development, provides up to $1.9 billion per year for five years to make significant enhancements in national parks and other public lands to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education and enjoyment for current and future visitors.
GAOA, the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other construction funding sources are part of a concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance backlog in national parks.
CVNP encompasses 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Managed by the National Park Service, CVNP combines cultural, historical, recreational, and natural resources in one setting.
Photo (©Rick McMeechan) shows Beaver Marsh, a former auto scrapyard, which is now a thriving habitat and popular CVNP destination.