Centennial Spotlight: Elaine Marsh

Summit Metro Parks
2 min readMay 14, 2021


Mike Johnson, Chief of Conservation

SMP Watershed Specialist Elaine Marsh

Elaine Marsh is currently serving as the park district’s watershed specialist and is a warrior for clean water, air and land. Elaine has worked tirelessly over her career to improve the rivers, streams and wetlands of our region.

Elaine co-founded Friends of the Crooked River, a nonprofit dedicated to good stewardship of our water resources. Prior to joining Summit Metro Parks, she has held leadership roles with Ohio Greenways and Cleveland Waterfront Coalition.

Co-founder Elaine Marsh poses with several Friends of the Crooked River board members along the Cuyahoga River

Long before our beloved Cuyahoga was widely appreciated for the asset it is, there was Elaine Marsh. Where many people saw a dead river, as a paddler, Elaine saw a sick friend, barely able to whisper for help. She has advocated for improved water quality, riparian setbacks, free-flowing rivers and water trails and has played key roles in all of the dam removals along the Cuyahoga River. She was active in the formation of Cascade Valley Metro Park and when one thinks of the Cuyahoga River, it is hard not to think of Elaine Marsh.

In her current role at SMP, she helps lead our “Free the Falls” project to remove the Gorge Dam and restore a free-flowing river for fish, wildlife and people. Ultimately, her lifetime commitment to our natural resources will benefit generations to come.

“Every connection to the creatures of the land, air and water that sustains us is a window into ourselves.” ~ Elaine Marsh

For more stories like this, check out Green Islands Magazine, a bi-monthly publication from Summit Metro Parks. Summit County residents can sign up to receive the publication at home free of charge. #SMP100



Summit Metro Parks

Summit Metro Parks manages 15,000 acres, 16 parks, three nature centers and more than 150 miles of trails. Find more at www.summitmetroparks.org.