A National Heritage Area … and a National Treasure
The Ohio & Erie Canalway is a National Heritage Area — designated by Congress in 1996 — to help preserve and celebrate the rails, trails, landscapes, towns and sites that grew up along the first 110 miles of the canal that helped Ohio and our nation grow.
Annually, more than 2.5 million Americans find their way to the iconic 81+ mile Towpath Trail running through the heart of the Canalway. The historic Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and the nationally designated America’s Byway offer alternate Canalway travel options through the National Heritage Area. Whether birding, hiking, bicycling or traveling by horseback, trail, rail or Byway — the cultural, historic, recreational and natural resources of the Ohio & Erie Canalway add quite a bit to the quality of life in the counties of Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas in Northeastern Ohio.
Within our borders — stretching 110 miles from Cleveland to New Philadelphia — you’ll find the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, the County Park Districts of Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas Counties all working together with communities and organizations to restore, build and replenish the cultural, historical, natural and recreational resources of the region that collectively tell our story.
It’s been a source of economic strength for Ohio as well. Since receiving its National Heritage Area designation in 1996, the Ohio & Erie Canalway has leveraged upwards of $350 million in federal, state, local and private investments throughout the region. Of that total, $85 million in leveraged investments have taken place along the Towpath Trail itself. In many respects, it’s an historic return on the $12 million in National Park Service funding that the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association has been awarded and is distributing through a combination of grants and technical assistance to regional partners.
The collaborative community spirit at the heart of every National Heritage Area remains the hallmark of Ohio & Erie Canalway programs and projects that continue to help Ohio and our nation grow.