History & Accomplishments
Since the founding of the TRAILS FOREVER program in 2008 and the creation of the TRAILS FOREVER Legacy Fund in 2009, donors and volunteers have accomplished a number of important projects to preserve, maintain, and enhance the trails of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Together, the National Park Service and the Conservancy have engaged volunteers, advocates, and other partners to repair damage, install benches, build staircases, and resurface trails—among many other projects. We’ve highlighted a few key accomplishments below.
Current Project: Off-Road Bicycle Trails
In the summer of 2014, the National Park Service began surveying for a new system of off-road bicycle trails along CVNP’s eastern edge. Flanking the areas north and south of Interstate 80, this project from the 2013 Trail Plan will provide mountain bikers and hikers with several more miles to explore.
Your donations to the TRAILS FOREVER Legacy Fund have assisted with the planning phase of the project. Earlier this year, TRAILS FOREVER funding—powered by your donations!—helped hire a national expert to evaluate the corridor for the new trail.
In the next several years, the park will build new trail sections of 5–10 miles in this area. Currently, teams are conducting archeological and natural resource surveys along the route to comply with federal laws. After the surveys are done, they’ll be submitted for approval. Depending on funding and volunteer availability, construction may begin in 2015. Thanks to all of the TRAILS FOREVER donors, volunteers, and trail crews who will help make this project possible!
Together, the Conservancy and the National Park Service co-manage the third-largest national park volunteer program in the country. Through Days of Service, Alternative Spring Break, and other trail-specific volunteer programs, our volunteers help ensure that you can continue to enjoy all 104 miles of trails in your national park.
In 2013, 460 volunteers donated almost 9,000 hours to support trails—a total of 244 individual maintenance projects. One of our annual events is the celebration of National Trails Day, where volunteers gather to perform maintenance and restoration projects around the park. During our most recent event, 70 volunteers performed trail sweeps at the Ledges, Pine Grove, and Haskell Run trails, including:
- Improving water control on Haskell Run Trail.
- Controlling erosion on the stairs at Pine Grove.
- Re-aligning stones near the Ledges parking lot.
- Spreading trail covering on the Ledges Loop.
Tabletop Trail: In the fall of 2014, TRAILS FOREVER donors and volunteers helped restore and reopen Tabletop Trail after 10 years of being closed due to flood damage. New features on this stretch of the Wetmore Trail system included better erosion control, drainage features, and reinforced creek banks. The final work was completed on Make A Difference Day, when nearly 100 volunteers helped put the finishing touches on the restored trail.
Mobile Tool Shed: Getting to trails that need repair can sometimes be tricky—and hauling the necessary equipment to make those repairs is even trickier. Thanks to funds generated by the TRAILS FOREVER Legacy Fund, however, the National Park Service was able to purchase a trailer in 2013 to haul tools and equipment to project locations along the trails. As of the spring of 2014, the trailer is now in service and will continue to help both staff and volunteers reach the far-flung places of the national park for important trail maintenance.
Staff Positions: Using additional funds from the TRAILS FOREVER Legacy Fund, NPS also hired a trails volunteer coordinator in 2013. This position has been instrumental in coordinating and implementing a number of trails restoration projects—including park staff initiatives to clear downed trees, re-route damaged trails, resurface the Towpath Trail, repair trail signs, and add benches along the trails.
In 2014, nearly 700 people attended Elevation and Topography, raising nearly $120,000 for the park’s trails. On both evenings, guests enjoyed a unique experience in the national park while enjoying gourmet food, camaraderie, hiking, music, and campfires. All proceeds from the events were allocated to TRAILS FOREVER.
Unlike many fundraisers, there was no fundraising at the events themselves. Instead, donations came primarily from ticket sales and corporate sponsorships, so guests could simply enjoy the experience of an evening in the national park, with fantastic food and drink—all for a great cause.
Check out more Conservancy accomplishments here.
Even with all these successes, there is still work to be done. Learn how you can support CVNP trails >