Then & Now: The Cuyahoga

Mike Johnson, Chief of Conservation

The river that burned is the river that’s turned…

In the 100 years Summit Metro Parks has been in existence, the local fishing experience has undergone drastic transformations.

In the 1970s, an angler wading in much of the Cuyahoga River would more likely catch cholera than fish. Decades of industrial and municipal pollution left the Cuyahoga struggling for its very life. One study found almost no fish living in the stretch of river from Akron to Cleveland.

Thanks to the Clean Water Act and the hard work of many agencies and environmental leaders, our Cuyahoga has made a near full recovery. Water that was once too toxic to touch now supports thriving populations of sport fish like panfish, bass, channel catfish, northern pike and even steelhead trout.

Throughout Summit County, people are looking for greater access to the river. Summit Metro Parks encourages fishing at all parks that include a stretch of the Cuyahoga. And, kayak and boat access points are being developed as part of a water trail network that will span from Portage County to the Cleveland harbor. We invite you and future generations to enjoy the next century of clean-water fishing in Summit County!

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.