Set out for an adventure by taking a tour and supporting Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) partners! CVNP has a power-trio of park partners, friends’ groups, and organizations that help our park be the unique retreat that it is. For this “challenge,” we’re going to focus on the following partners: Conservancy for CVNP, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR), and Countryside Food & Farms.
Keep in mind that this challenge is designed to take several days – giving you the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in these partners.
Before you set out on your challenge, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the locations, hours, and costs of items on our list. We’ve elaborated on many of the check off list suggestions below, plus lists include simple things to pack along for a fun-filled exploring experience! Adventure awaits!!
Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The official friends group and philanthropic partner for CVNP’s mission is to enrich people’s lives and enhance our region by inspiring use, preservation and support of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Conservancy offers cultural and educational programming, co-manages the park’s volunteer program, provides venues for weddings, meetings and special events, and operates park retail spaces.
Visit a Conservancy Retail Store Location: Help support Cuyahoga Valley National Park through your purchases. Find gifts, apparel, local food, children’s toys and more in store. Stop by for a snack after your hike or bike ride, and pick up a keepsake to remember your day in the park or a gift for someone special. Plus, sale proceeds directly support Cuyahoga Valley National Park programs.
- Trail Mix Peninsula (Retail store with a large selection of CVNP apparel and snacks, behind Winking Lizard): 1600 West Mill Street Peninsula, OH 44264
- Newly opened Boston Store with fresh boxed lunches and ice cream treats: 1550 Boston Mills Rd W., Peninsula, OH 44264
- Gift Shop at Boston Mill Visitor Center: 6947 Riverview Rd., Peninsula, OH 44264
- Online store: open 24/7 forcvnp.org/online-store
Learn how to become a volunteer: The Volunteer-In-Park (VIP) program is co-managed by the National Park Service and the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Join us in creating meaningful experiences and preserving Cuyahoga Valley National Park for future generations. There is a place for everyone to find their volunteer niche. The Volunteer-In-Park program provides a variety of options for kids, families, and adults of all ages. We also work hand-in-hand to provide unique opportunities for company, school, scout, and youth group.
- Volunteer for Invasive Plant Removal: Remove invasive vegetation and improve habitat for native plants and animals. You’ll use hand tools such as loppers and saws. Suitable for ages 10 and up. Youth ages 10 to 15 are welcome with parent or guardian supervision. Youth ages 16 to 17 will need a completed volunteer agreement form signed by a parent or guardian.
- Register through our online calendar system: Invasive Plant Removal Drop In
- Check here to sign up for the volunteer newsletter as well as checking the calendar for upcoming volunteer opportunities!
Attend a Conservancy education program: Join the Conservancy staff for fun education opportunities. Most programs are open to all ages. Pre-registration is required.
Become a member: Conservancy members are the driving force behind the projects that will maintain Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s timeless landscapes and precious resources. Become a member today and feel proud that YOU are making this remarkable natural resource available for generations to come. Your 100% tax-deductible membership gives you a year’s worth of exciting benefits!
Countryside Food & Farms
Countryside Food & Farms‘ mission states, “Our mission is to build a thriving local food community by connecting people, food and land in and beyond Cuyahoga Valley National Park.”
- Visit Farmers Market @Howe Meadow: Shop local and direct from 50+ of your nearby farmers, food entrepreneurs, and artists in the scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
- Shop the Curbside Farmers Market: Countryside Curbside Farmers’ Market at Old Trail School allows you to shop from 29 local farmers and food producers with the bare-minimum of contact.
- Visit one of the Countryside Farms: These farms are expected to be managed with only sustainable farming practices, and the farmers are required to positively interact with CVNP visitors.
- Learn how to become a volunteer: Volunteer opportunities at our Farmers’ Markets include market setup, market tear-down, market ambassadors, parking management (Howe Meadow only), Zero Waste, produce inventory, Countryside Cheese, photography, information booth and customer counters.
- Make a donation / Sign up for newsletter: By donating, you are making a social, economic and environmental change! Stay on top of everything that is happening at Countryside with their weekly updates including important news, blog posts, recipes, and more.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR): Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is a tourist excursion railway and private sector, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization operating in partnership with Cuyahoga Valley National Park located in Northeast, Ohio. CVSR is dedicated and committed to preserving and renovating historic railcars so that they may be enjoyed by future generations. In addition to providing event excursions year-round, we also offer a membership program and have a volunteer base of more than 1,000.
- Take the National Park Scenic excursion: Climb aboard the train on this regularly running excursion! The National Park Scenic excursion is the best way to see the length of Cuyahoga Valley National Park from a one-of-a-kind vantage point.
- Take the CVSR to Hale Farm & Village: Travel by train to this premier collection and property of Western Reserve Historical Society! Located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Hale Farm & Village is an outdoor living history museum.
- Use the CVSR Explorer Pass: Whether you’re biking, kayaking, running or hiking through the park, you can flag down and board the train at any of our stations throughout the day and ride back for a one-way fee or by using your Explorer pass when you board.
- Learn how to become a volunteer: Give your time with Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and make a tangible difference for passengers and park visitors.
- Become a member / sign up for newsletter: Come aboard and become a member of Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to receive discounts and exclusive member benefits to enjoy a heritage railroad experience year-round. Subscribe to their Mailing List (bottom of the home page, off to the right.)
To read even more about our park partners, here is a fantastic CVNP blog post, dated May 21, 2020, on how these partners persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic last Summer and stayed safe. At the end, take our fun quiz to see how well you know the differences between our partners: Our Wonderful Park Partners
#1. With the help of this CVNP partner, you may have enjoyed taking a ride and biking back to your starting point with their Bike Aboard program.
#2. This nonprofit friends group of CVNP fosters a rich cultural arts program through music, art, adult education, and more.
#3. This CVNP partner operates farmers’ markets in the area to help support our local farmers and food producers. The largest market is held at Howe Meadow in the summertime.
#4. who manages more historic houses, buildings, structures and districts on the national register of historic structures than almost every other national park?
#5. In close partnership with the National Park Service, this organization managed the fundraising, planning, design, and construction process for the new Boston Mill Visitor Center.
#6. This organization works to preserve the rural landscape of CVNP by selecting farm and field sites to be rehabilitated, recruiting potential farmers, providing agricultural expertise to both the park and farmers, and finding the resources needed to help both parties succeed.
#7. This excursion railway provides alternative transportation to and within Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Ohio & Erie Canal.
#8. With a mission to enrich lives and communities by inspiring use, appreciation & support of CVNP and ensure its preservation, this organization offers cultural & educational programming, operates a year-round environmental education center, co-manages the park’s volunteer program, provides venues for weddings, meetings & special events, & operates park retail spaces.
#9. Which organization owns and maintains more miles of railroad track than any other national park?
#10. Inspired by the hit movie, THE POLAR EXPRESS™ comes to life every holiday season with this nonprofit partner of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
#11. This organization protects nearly 33,000 acres of land and is celebrating 20 years of being a national park this year!
#12. This CVNP partner educates the next generation of food producers and farmland stewards through their Beginning Farmer Intern and Apprentice program in partnership with Old Trail School.
Don’t forget to send us a photo or video of your adventures! You can tag us on social media, use #forcvnp or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to see what you discovered while connecting with park partners!