50 Ways to Love Your River

On this day 50 years ago, the Cuyahoga River burned for the very last time. To celebrate the anniversary, we put together 50 ways to protect, enjoy, and love your river! 

  1. Kayak or canoe on the river

2. Don’t litter – pick up your trash. Trash in our river not only looks bad, it can contaminate the water and threaten the life of those who depend on it.

3. Volunteer at an upcoming invasive plant removal drop-in to help improve soil quality and reduce stormwater run-off.

4. Plant a tree. Planting trees give many benefits to rivers, including slowing rainwater runoff, providing important habitat for animals, and capturing carbon dioxide.

5. Pick up after your pet.

6. Take a hike.

Photo by Jeffrey Gibson

7. Take a picture of the river. Some great spots to see it in CVNP include the Towpath trail near Station Road Bridge, Boston Store and Beaver Marsh.

8. Make a memory near the river.

9. Go fishing.

10. Conserve water. Using water-saving techniques help prevent water pollution in the river and also prevents greenhouse gas emissions associated with treating and distributing water.

11. Use less fertilizer. Excess pollution and chemicals from fertilizers harms and pollutes the Cuyahoga River.

12. Plant a rain garden. A rain garden is made in a depression to absorb runoff from impervious surfaces nearby. It features perennial, native plants that can handle standing water around their bases for a day or two after a storm. Rain gardens help filter water of pollutants before it reaches waterways.

13. Install a rain barrel.  A rain barrel diverts stormwater runoff coming from the roof of a building, through a gutter into the barrel. You can then use it to water your garden.

14. Learn the history of your river.

15. Wash your car on the grass. When you wash your car in the driveway, pollutants from dirty water such as detergent, motor oil, gas, and residue from exhaust fumes wash off cars and make their way into nearby storm drains. These pollutants flow through the storm drain system and drain into local creeks and rivers, without going through treatment. The pollutants that end up flowing into creeks and rivers may end up harming fish and other wildlife.

16. And while you’re at it… wash your pet in the grass, too!

17. Go a little wild… let your yard grow.

18. Use natural products to clean.

19. Reduce. Don’t make trash in the first place. Use less stuff, decrease your consumption, and minimize your waste footprint.

20. Reuse. If you can’t reduce, reuse! Try taking a reusable bag the next time you’re shopping at Trail Mix!

21. Recycle. Recycling protects the Cuyahoga River by keeping waste out of the water.

22. Use a reusable water bottle. Rather than purchasing bottled water, bring your own reusable water bottle for that long hike or bike ride. (Trail Mix Peninsula has a great selection!)

23. Dispose liquids properly. Storm sewers are usually located in the curb area of the street, in the parking lot area or in the alley. These sewers carry untreated rainwater directly to the river. It is important not to pour anything down the storm sewer.

24. Leave wildlife alone. Take only pictures, leave only footprints!

Jeffrey Gibson

25. Landscape with native plants.

26. Start a compost pile. Composting not only provides nutrients to your plants, but it acts like a giant sponge, keeping rainwater from rushing over the land and taking the top layer of nutrient-laden soil with it to the river.

27. Carpool.

28. Use alternate transportation forms. Try biking to work!

29. Stay on the trail.

30. Turn off the lights when you’re not using them. Using less electricity decreases the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. 

31. Turn down the thermostat.

32. Sponsor an acre along the river. Try Lock 29 or Station Road Bridge!

33. Learn the ecology of river.

34. Research your local EPA

35. Learn about the Clean Water Act.

36. Learn about what a watershed is and what watershed you are a part of.

37. Choose natural fibers.

38. Support local farms & buy local food.

39. Buy organic produce. Organic farms do not contribute to fertilizer runoff!

40. Join the Conservancy to help make our remarkable natural resource available for future generation.

41. Learn about the hidden gems of the Cuyahoga River.

Tom Jones

42. Take a train ride along river.

43. Bring along a friend or family member who has never been to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

44. Be a citizen scientist.

45. Teach your kids to be water conscious. Instilling conservation habits from a young age will help them become sustainable adults.

46. Visit the CVNP waterfalls – try Brandywine Falls or Blue Hen Falls!

47. Paddleboard.

48. Celebrate with the community! Check out these exciting events this weekend!

49. Show us how you love the river using #forcvnp and #Cuyahoga50

50. Share this blog! Be part of the river’s future!