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 helped complete many important projects to protect 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, build staircases, and resurface trails—among many other projects. We’ve highlighted a few key accomplishments below.
Current Project: East Rim Trail
In the fall of 2015, CVNP opened its first-ever mountain bike trail: East Rim Trail. This first 2.3-mile section gives mountain bikers, hikers, and runners a challenging new trail to explore. Designed to follow the natural topography of the valley, the trail passes through dense woodlands and open meadows.
Construction on the second phase of the trail began in summer 2016. This new section includes an outer loop measuring 4.5 miles, which is expected to open in late 2016 or early 2017. Trail crews also have plans to complete an inner line connector trail on Phase 2 and a short "experts-only" section. When complete, the full trail will measure nearly 10 miles. Get the latest updates on the East Rim Trail project >
The Conservancy secured grant funding for this project from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, NPS Centennial funding, and ODNR Recreational Trail Program. Ongoing maintenance for the trail will be funded by the TRAILS FOREVER Legacfy Fund. Thanks to all of the TRAILS FOREVER donors, volunteers, and trail crews who are helping make this project possible! (Photo: Alex Stewart)
Together, the Conservancy and the National Park Service co-manage one of the largest national park volunteer programs in the country. Through Days of Service, Alternative Spring Break, and more, park volunteers help ensure that you can continue to enjoy all 104 miles of trails in your national park.
In 2015, volunteers donated 17,900 hours to CVNP trail projects. That comes to $413,000 in value added by CVNP trail volunteers (based on national dollar value estimates of $23.07/hour). We're tremendously grateful to the all the individual volunteers and volunteer groups—including the Cuyahoga Valley Trails Council, Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Assocation (CAMBA), and Medina chapter of the Ohio Horseman's Council—for their work to restore and protect more than 100 miles of park trails!
Trail Restoration: In 2016, the TRAILS FOREVER Legacy Fund helped support restoration projects on Butler Trail, Langes Run, Lake and Pine Grove Trails, and the Ledges Trail. In addition, two trail interns were hired to coordinate volunteer projects on the Towpath Trail, including repairs near Stumpy Basin, Ira Trailhead, and Rockside Station. Going forward, crews will be focusing on modifying existing trails to improve their sustainability, primarily through better erosion control and flood prevention.
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 to haul tools and equipment to project locations along the trails. This "mobile tool shed" helps staff and volunteers reach the far-flung places of the national park for important trail maintenance.
In 2016, 900 people attended Elevation and Topography to raise over $100,000 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.
From hiking around the Ledges Trail to marshmallows around the campfire, guests enjoyed the experience of an evening in the national park, with fantastic food and drink—all for a great cause.
Check out more succcess that Conservancy donors help make possible here.
Even with all these successes, there is still work to be done. Learn how you can support CVNP trails >