End to federal shutdown brings opening to Cuyahoga Valley National Parks and services

by Tim Troglen/Ellin Walsh | reporters Published:

Portions of the United States government swung their doors open Oct. 17 for the first full day of business since the Oct. 1 partial government shutdown.

As the doors of federal offices opened, so did the gates of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and all its facilities.

According to Joan Anzelmo, a spokesperson for the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park lost 68,219 visitors and more than $1.5 million in revenue during the first 10 days of the government shutdown. She added more than 800 jobs were at stake.

"The shutdown caused staggering losses in all sectors of our economy," according to Anzelmo. "The national parks are such economic generators for our country year-round that this kind of revenue and visitation was lost in just 10 days."

Noting it is peak color season, Anzelmo called the timing of the shutdown "just tragic."

Park facilities were back in operation Oct. 17 as the 109 employees of the park, including Mary Pat Doorley, park public affairs officer, returned from furlough.

While the majority of employees were furloughed, an unspecified number of law enforcement personnel remained on duty during the shutdown, according to Doorley.

"It's great to be back," Doorley said.

Visitor centers, rest rooms, the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail and all other hiking and biking trails in the 33,000-acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park have been reopened. However, the Canal Visitor Center will remain closed for construction and will reopen early next year.

"It was a difficult situation where we encouraged people to visit their national park and then we told them that it was closed," Chief Ranger Chris Ryan said. "Now that the park has been reopened, we welcome you back to visit your national park and enjoy the spectacular fall colors."

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has resumed tours and tickets for the Polar Express are still on sale. Daily excursions including the "bike aboard" program also resumed Oct. 17.

The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park programs at the Environmental Education Center and Happy Days Lodge have resumed. Rental options are also available for the Stanford House, Hines Hill Conference Center and the Stone Cottage.

Trail Mix Peninsula is also open for snacks and souvenirs.

The Countryside Conservancy's Farmers' Market will be at Howe Meadow on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon through October, before moving to its normal winter location at Old Trail School in November.

For more information visit www.cvcountryside.org.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park encompasses 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Managed by the National Park Service, the park combines cultural, historical, recreational, and natural activities in one setting.

For more information visit www.nps.gov/cuva or call 330-657-2752.

Email: ttroglen@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9435

Facebook: TimTroglenRPC

Twitter: @Trog_RPC

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.