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Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga is a Native American word often translated to mean “crooked”—an apt name for the 100-mile winding river forming the 22-mile spine of the park. The river also provided the water source for the 19th-century Ohio & Erie Canal. Remnants of those canal days—houses, farms and canal structures—constitute many of the park's points of interest. To nature lovers' great delight, the river valley protects thousands of plant and animal species, and each season offers a different scenic beauty. Spring and summer wildflowers coat the fields; autumn trees display their vibrant foliage as fallen leaves rustle underfoot; and winter snow drapes the landscape white, a perfect path for sleds and cross-country skis.

Though this area has been federally protected for more than 30 years, it was just named a national park in 2000. Regardless of this recent status, though, the valley has hosted recreational visitors since the late 19th century when country outings for pastimes like boat rides and picnics became popular. During the Great Depression, the area benefited from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's program of public works; today's visitors still enjoy facilities built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The national park preserves a bygone piece of rural America. You can walk the old towpaths used by mules to pull barges up the canal and visit historic villages and farms. Take a scenic train ride, go ice skating, watch waterfalls—or just drive along leaf-strewn roads with your windows rolled down—and you'll experience the charms of the Cuyahoga Valley.

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