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Environment


Parks work to keep visitors coming
Rails, trails, and bridges always a concern
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI


Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
Paul Stoehr says the CVNP learned from the Carriage Trail bridges to design this new one at Rockside Road. It uses square beams rather than I beams or H beams, which trap more water. It also uses Brazilian Ipe wood for hand railings. It's a very dense wood that resists water and doesn't splinter.
Courtesy of MARK URYCKI
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The Cuyahoga Valley National Park replaces one bridge, but four more need work. 
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Cold weather this spring dampened outdoor activity in Ohio, but area parks officials hope they’ll make up for it as the autumn hiking season gets started.  And key to that are trails and bridges.

Last week the Cuyahoga Valley National Park opened a new bridge across the Cuyahoga River to link to its Rockside train station. It also replaced or repaired three other bridges earlier this year. But the three that hikers still ask about are the dramatic 150-foot spans on the heavily wooded Carriage Trail. They were only 20 years old but were closed four years ago after the constant shade and moisture corroded the metal.

Deputy Superintendent Paul Stoehr says the park would like to replace them, "which is a bit problematic because when those bridges were originally constructed and installed, a lot of the residential development around that area had not yet occurred. So it was easy to bring those bridges in and put them in place. That option is no longer available.”

Stoehr says the trails have been in good shape this year except for one big July storm that washed out the Towpath Trail in Akron. The president of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Graig Tallman, said that storm also caused problems for the tracks.

“We had a situation in the Akron area around the Hickory streets  that caused us some concern. Some temporary repairs were done on that track that enabled us to get through and a more permanent solution is ion process right now.  So we’re very fortunate we only lost one day of service.”

Tallman says warmer weather of late has boosted ridership. The railroad is trying out a new WalkAboard  program like its popular BikeAboard deal.  For $3, passengers get a one-way trip and then walk, run or bike back home -- or vice versa. 

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