National Park Service reopens towpath from Independence to Akron after flooding concerns ease

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio - The Cuyahoga Valley National Park reopened a 19.7 mile stretch of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath trail Friday afternoon after flooding concerns eased.

In the morning, the park announced the towpath would be shut down from Lock 39 Trailhead in Independence to Botzum Trailhead in Akron. Closed signs went up along many access points.

Park ranger Josh Bates said the closure was done with public safety in mind. In addition, park officials didn't want the trail to be overused in poor, rainy conditions.

"People are appreciative that we're thinking about their safety and we want to make sure that we're not getting people in a situation that could be worse for them," Bates said.

However, just before 3 p.m, a new release indicated all sections of the towpath had been reopened. The amount of rainfall and the water levels were lower than expected, according to Mary Pat Doorley, spokesperson for CVNP.

Doug Charnock, sales manager for Century Cycles in Peninsula, said it's not unusual for the trail to close for a day when there's high water. Still, it usually catches some runners, walkers and cyclists off guard.

"It's really cherished by people. You close this thing and a lot of people are left without their hobby. The runners, the cyclists, everybody loves coming down here," Charnock said.

To get updates on the towpath and activities at the park, go to www.nps.gov/cuva

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