Conservancy donors make a difference in Cuyahoga Valley National Park every day.
Because of donor support, children experience wonder in nature. Park visitors enjoy music and art in the valley. Volunteers plant trees and build trails. And the National Park Service and the Conservancy have the resources to steward our world-class national park.
Photo by Zaina Salem
2019: Year in Review
2019 was a big year for the Conservancy. Here’s what we have accomplished, with another full month to go:
- The Boston Mill Visitor Center officially opened to the public on Oct. 25, 2019. The Boston Mill Visitor Center is the first-ever full-service visitor center for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Culminating more than 10 years of work, this was by far the most ambitious capital fundraising campaign for the Conservancy. The Conservancy raised $7.1 million for CVNP’s new Boston Mill Visitor Center.
- The Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center welcomed 10,603 youth for day programs and resident programs.
- 6,280 volunteers contributed 178,980 hours of service and made 206,944 visitor contacts.
- 1,287 participated in planting trees; they volunteered a total of 5,366 hours.
- Our Cultural Arts programs connected 2,500 music-lovers with concerts at iconic Cuyahoga Valley National Park venues and provided 611 people learning opportunities through lectures surrounding environmental topics.
- Extraordinary Spaces Celebrated 129 weddings in historic park places.
Brian + Joelle Hunsaker Photography
Each year, our members, donors, volunteers, and advocates help the Conservancy accomplish big things for our national park. Together, we’ve helped make the following successes possible during the Conservancy’s Fiscal Year 2018:
- Raised $7 million for Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s new Boston Mill Visitor Center, opening fall of 2019.
- Welcomed ~10,000 youth to the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center.
- Connected 9,000 music-lovers with concerts at iconic Cuyahoga Valley National Park venues.
- Planted 9,000 native trees with 500 volunteers who donated over 2,000 combined hours.
- Celebrated 115 weddings in historic park places.
- Greeted 60,000 visitors to Trail Mix retail stores for park information, snacks, gifts, and more.
Read more about our 2018 successes here.
Photo: Melanie Nesteruk
Wetmore Habitat Restoration
From 2015 to 2017, hundreds of volunteers worked hard with National Park Service staff to restore native habitat in the Wetmore Trail area of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. All told, the project reforested 30 acres, removed invasive species from 100 acres, and stabilized 7,000 linear feet of the Dickerson Creek bank. The Conservancy secured funding for this project from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Every Kid in a Park
The national Every Kid in a Park initiative has a vision that “No matter who you are or where you live, every kid should be able to enjoy America’s parks, monuments, lands and waters.” During the 2016-2017 school year, the Conservancy’s Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center brought 3,500 fourth-graders to the national park to explore the history, wildlife, geology, and natural features of the Cuyahoga Valley. During 2017-2018, we’re aiming to continue growing the program, with a goal of serving 5,500 students from throughout northeast Ohio. Learn more
Photo: Alex Stewart
East Rim Mountain Bike Trail
With support from the Conservancy, Cuyahoga Valley National Park officially opened its first mountain biking trail in spring 2016. The initial 2.3-mile East Rim Trail lets bikers, hikers, and runners explore a unique new area of the Cuyahoga Valley. An additional 6.5-mile loop is anticipated to be completed in the spring of 2018. Funding for the East Rim trail system comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, ODNR Recreational Trails program, National Parks Centennial Challenge, S. L. Gimbel Foundation Fund, People for Bikes, and individual donors. See what’s happening now
Streamlined Volunteer Hour Tracking
In 2016, CNVP’s volunteer program (co-managed by the Conservancy) implemented a new online system for tracking volunteer service hours. Particularly for recurring volunteers who currently submit monthly timesheets on paper, this online program reduces error, simplifies the process, and allows staff to spend more time connecting with volunteers and doing more for the national park.
Expanded Summer Academy Programs at the Education Center
In 2015, the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center expanded its summer Environmental Education Academy to schools in Cleveland, in addition to Akron Public Schools. This program is focused on increasing success in ninth grade and teaches rising ninth-graders about the environment, the scientific method, and team building. Akron students also earn a half-credit in science for a head start in high school.
In the fall of 2014, Conservancy 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.
Photo: Conservancy Staff
Trail Mix Boston
Conservancy donors helped restore a historic piece of the Village of Boston in 2014 with the rehabilitation of Trail Mix Boston, one of the Conservancy’s retail shops. The project included restoring the original 19th-century façade and wooden porch, adding a new patio and accessible walkway, and rebuilding the wood-frame garage next to the building. Today, park visitors can experience this unique piece of the Cuyahoga Valley’s cultural history.
TRAILS FOREVER Mobile Tool Shed
In 2013, TRAILS FOREVER Legacy Fund distributions helped fund an equipment trailer to hold trail maintenance supplies for trail crews and volunteers. This “mobile tool shed” holds all equipment necessary to tackle any volunteer project on the trails and makes it easier for crews to reach remote spots in the national park. (Photo: NPS DJ Reiser)
Photo: Melanie Nesteruk
From 2010 to 2014, more than 1,200 volunteers helped remove invasive species from 40 acres of land and reforest 10 acres of former farmland with native species in the Hampton Hills area of CVNP. Supported by funding from the Conservancy, volunteers planted thousands of native trees and shrubs, including box elders, oaks, elderberries, and dogwoods.
Photo: Conservancy Staff
In 2011, the Conservancy led a campaign to restore the Stanford House, a historic home in the Village of Boston. The project funded structural rehabilitation, new furnishings and lighting, fire safety features, and a renovated kitchen. Now operated by the Conservancy, the Stanford House is a cozy getaway spot for groups or individuals, in close proximity to the Towpath Trail, Boston Store Visitor Center, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, and more.
Watershed Preservation Advocacy
In 2008, 568 acres of land adjoining Blossom Music Center were threatened with residential development. A strong partnership formed between the National Park Service, the Trust for Public Land, and the Musical Arts Association to secure federal funds to purchase the land. The Conservancy leadership and its membership mobilized to support the effort, and in 2011, all 568 acres became part of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Since 2009, we’ve co-managed the park’s volunteer program with the National Park Service. Together, we’ve given northeast Ohioans a variety of opportunities to help the national park, from restoring trails to collecting data for citizen science projects. We also led a project to restore the four buildings of the Volunteer Center in the Village of Boston in 2009, adding to the historic character of the area. With Conservancy co-management, the park’s volunteer program has grown from 2,500 volunteers in 2008 to one of the largest in the National Park System—6,300 volunteers today!