Mike and Marti Hardy love Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s trails—for the scenery, the exercise, and the history. Every trail is special, but the Towpath Trail is their favorite.
“I enjoy coming upon a former lock and seeing the traces of the canal,” says Mike, a self-described American history buff. “On the trails, I get some exercise, I get to connect with history, and I get to enjoy the environmental beauty of the park.”
Hardy’s connection to CVNP trails goes back several years. Mike remembers when the park first started talking about turning the Towpath into a recreational trail in the late 1980s. “You had to have a good imagination to imagine the old path as a trail!” he laughs.
Eventually, the Towpath did become a trail, and one of the park’s most beloved ones to boot. Mike and Marti have walked many miles on it, especially from the Ira Trailhead to Beaver Marsh and at the Station Road Bridge Trailhead.
In 2008, Mike teamed up with the Conservancy as part of the TRAILS FOREVER Legacy Fund group to kick-start an endowment campaign focused on park trails. The Fund continues today, with a goal of raising a $10 million endowment solely for operation and maintenance of CVNP’s trails system.
Mike and Marti have generously made a planned gift to the Legacy Fund to ensure the park’s trails remain protected and maintained for generations to come, even after they’re gone.
“We cannot take the park or the funding it receives from the federal government for granted,” says Mike. “We need to make this park sustainable, and gifts through lasting endowments make that possible.”
Thanks to people like Mike and Marti, our Cuyahoga Valley National Park trails will go on—forever.