With the push to remove a 105-year-old dam from Gorge Metro Park — a move that would uncover the long-hidden falls under the Cuyahoga River that gave Cuyahoga Falls its name — Summit County Metro Parks has planned a series of special programs about the well-known but obsolete feature. The “Free the Falls” series already includes a number of hikes and talks through May, and more will be scheduled for summer and fall. Experts have said the concrete dam is the biggest impediment to a cleaner and healthier Cuyahoga River.
The 429-foot-wide and 57-foot-tall Gorge Dam was built in 1911 and 1912 to generate power. Hydropower operations ceased in 1958, and the dam pool last provided cooling to a nearby coal-fired plant in 1991. Meanwhile, dams in Kent, Munroe Falls and elsewhere in Cuyahoga Falls have been removed or modified in recent years. The programs will be held at Gorge Metro Park, at 1160 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, unless otherwise noted: Geology of the Gorge. 10 am. Feb. 18; 1 p.m. April 8; 10 a.m. May 20. Join a naturalist to learn how the different rock layers in the park were formed and about the forces that have shaped those rocks ever since. Crystal Palace Hike. 1 p.m. Feb. 23 and Feb. 26. Colorful icicles form along the Cuyahoga River. Join a naturalist and discover firsthand the beauty of water in winter. The hikes will go on even if there is no snow or ice. Gorge History Hike. 2 p.m., March 16 and May 18. Hike with a naturalist. Bringing Down the Dam. 6 p.m. March 30. Hear the interwoven story of the Gorge Dam, the Cuyahoga River and Gorge Metro Park. Meet at F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm, 1828 Smith Road in Akron. Hike the Gorge. 1 p.m. April 12. Learn about the nature and history of the Gorge Trail and the Cuyahoga River.
The Cuyahoga River:
A Fiery Past. 10 a.m. April 22. A story of pollution and redemption. History of Gorge Metro Park. 6 p.m. April 27. Historians will tell about everything from roller coasters to dance halls. Meet at F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm, 1828 Smith Road in Akron. A Riverday Walk Through Time. 2 p.m. May 20. An easy hike in the Upper Gorge. See the restored site of a 19th century park that was once Northeast Ohio’s most-visited attraction, and see the results of dam removal elsewhere on the Cuyahoga River. Meet at High Bridge Glens Park, 1817 Front St. in Cuyahoga Falls.
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