Best Park

Cleveland Metroparks' Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation

A Rust Belt original, the latest bauble in the Emerald Necklace merges nature and the architecture of heavy industry, demonstrating how two seemingly disparate entities can come together to create a postindustrial oasis. The five-and-a-half-mile stretch joining with the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area offers the usual park amenities -- biking, hiking, picnicking, and fishing -- plus a wood-and-girder chalet that chronicles the valley's industrial history. The scenery includes a working railroad bridge, a giant water pipe you can walk through, furnaces and factory smokestacks, and coming soon: two of the Hulett ore unloaders, sorely missed on the lakefront horizon. Oh yeah, and red-tailed hawks, turtles, great blue heron, beavers, deer, orioles, and yellow warblers. Note to park and civic leaders: Please, please complete phase two and extend this park all the way to Lake Erie.
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