Cuyahoga RIver in Fire

Cuyahoga RIver in Fire

Cuyahoga Sparks A Movement Part 1

Shaka Guide


Hey, everybody. Now, if you look to your right, you'll see that we're passing the entrance to the Shawnee Hills golf course. Are there any golfers in the car? Did you bring your sticks? If you're looking for a challenge, hole number four is a doozy of a dogleg par four.

Or maybe you're still getting used to the idea of seeing things like golf courses and other businesses so close to a national park. Well, it wasn't too long ago that no one could have imagined a national park here. In 1969, the Cuyahoga River was featured in Time magazine, but not because it was Time's River of the Year.

Cuyahoga River Fire

In June of that year, in the city of Cleveland, the Cuyahoga River burst into flames. That's right, a fire on the river. What's worse is that it was the 13th time it had caught fire.

So how can water catch on fire? Well, it's easy. You just have to add enough oil and pollution to the water. And the Cuyahoga had plenty of both.

The article in Time magazine said the river oozes rather than flows. Yuck. You see, the 85-mile or 136-kilometer Cuyahoga River runs through both Akron and Cleveland before ending up in Lake Erie.

Fire Culprit

In the middle of the 20th century, these cities were known for their manufacturing industries like steel and rubber tires. And most of the waste from that manufacturing ended up in the river. An ecologist for the national park said that the river here was dead.

Not like just a few fish, but no fish. It had zero oxygen in place. So how do you bring a dead river back to life? We'll return to the story of the Cuyahoga River a little later down the road.

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