The Cuyahoga River

The Cuyahoga River of northeastern Ohio rises as East and West Branches in the northeast corner of Geauga County, flows southwestward to Cuyahoga Falls and then angles NNW, emptying into Lake Erie at Cleveland.  One hundred miles in length, the Cuyahoga (which means "crooked" in the Iroquois language) drains a watershed of 812 square miles, including parts of six Ohio counties.

Famous for catching fire in June, 1969, when oily debris was apparently ignited by sparks from a freight train, the Cuyahoga has since been recovering from its era of industrial pollution.  Thanks to conservation organizations such as Friends of the Crooked River, small dams along the river are being removed, wetlands have been restored and studies are underway to scientifically investigate, monitor and restore the riverine ecosystem.  Designated an American Heritage River in 1998, the Cuyahoga is a post-glacial river, the course of which was determined by the last Pleistocene Glacier as it retreated from Ohio some 12,000 years ago.  The Upper Cuyahoga (above Lake Rockwell, northeast of Kent) flows through natural and agricultural habitat while most of the River's course between Cuyahoga Falls and Cleveland flows through Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Having played a major role in spawning the Clean Water Act and other conservation initiatives, the Cuyahoga River has since become a symbol of what can be accomplished by groups dedicated to the welfare of rivers and other natural ecosystems.  Your financial support for and active participation in these conservation organizations is strongly encouraged (see the list in the right column of this Blog).