Record-Courier staff report
By early next fall, kayakers and canoeists will have another six miles of the Cuyahoga River to explore in central Portage County.
The Portage Park District has been awarded an $80,000 grant from the Ohio Division of Watercraft to develop a canoe and kayak access on the Cuyahoga River in Shalersville.
Christine Craycroft, Park District executive director, said she hopes to open the new canoe access point by next September. The grant, funded by boater registration fees, will cover the development of a small parking area, signage, grading and bank stabilization at the site of the county's Red Fox Wastewater Treatment Plant on Price Road, just south of Route 303. The Portage County Board of Commissioners agreed to lease the site to the park district so that paddlers can have a safe public place to exit the river.
"This is exciting because it will make another six miles of this beautiful river downstream of Mantua Village available to the public," Craycroft said.
The Upper Cuyahoga is designated a State Scenic River because of its outstanding water quality and natural habitats. Currently, there are no other public access points between Mantua Village and the city of Kent, with Lake Rockwell in between and off-limits to the public.
The Portage Park District is also working with representatives from Geauga, Summit and Cuyahoga counties to develop the concept of the Cuyahoga River Water Trail. Coordinated marketing and management will help promote this regional asset and the associated economic development opportunities that will come from tourism and allied businesses.
The Portage Park District currently operates 14 miles of hike and bike trails and 1,200 acres of land without a park levy; however public support is always needed. Visit www.portageparkdistrict.org or contact the Park District at 330-297-7728 for more information and to learn how to help.