National Park Service 100 Yrs Old. CVNP Lucky to Be Included
The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday today (Thurs). National Parks themselves go back farther, starting with Yellowstone in 1872. Ohio’s one and only national park is a more recent edition and, as ideastream’s Mark Urycki reports, almost didn’t happen…
By 1974 the cities of Akron and Cleveland were sprawling outwards at such a rate that some people feared that the forests in between would soon be cut down. Akron Congressman John Seiberling a Democrat wanted federal protection of the land and he was soon joined by Canton area Republican Ralph Regula to cosponsor a bill creating the park. Regula recalled in 2012 that the Gerald Ford administration was not on board.
“Rogers Morton was Secretary of the Interior. Rogers Morton recommended very strongly to Jerry that he veto the bill because urban parks are expensive."
Seiberling, who died in 2008, was worried that the park bill would never get past President Ford.
"I still remember John called me at home, it was a Saturday night and John said ‘Ralph, What do we do? Jerry’s going to veto our bill! ‘ I said well John I only know of one person that I think can change his mind and that was Ray Bliss. Of course Ray was retired and was living in Akron and he’s an icon in the Republican Party."
Bliss called the President, who was on a Christmas vacation skiing in Colorado.
“He told me afterwards he called Jerry in Vail. And he said ‘I told him "Jerry you got to run next year, if you veto the bill you’ll lose Ohio for sure. If you sign the bill you might win Ohio." ’ Which, as it turned out he didn’t. But the bill was signed, that’s the important thing.”
Regula said there should be a statue of Ray Bliss in the national park.
Ford signed it and the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation area was created on December 27, 1974.
In 2000 President Bill Clinton made it a national park. It’s typically the 11th most visited national park each year.