CLEVELAND — In honor of the famed Cuyahoga River making a comeback since it caught fire and made national headlines, American Rivers named the Cuyahoga “River of the Year” for 2019.
After the river caught fire on June 22, 1969, the river became a symbol of the dangers of environmental harm. The environmental movement had the momentum it needed to create change. In 1970, Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency and passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, which was created to clean up rivers and end industrial pollution.
From June 19-23, there will be a variety of events to celebrate the comeback of the Cuyahoga River.
From the Burning River Fest to activities at the North Coast Harbor, there is something for everyone this summer to celebrate the success of the river.
According to American Rivers, it took congressional action, 20 years and $2.5 billion for life to return to the Cuyahoga River. Now more than 60 fish species thrive in the “crooked river” and residents now enjoy recreational activities on the lake.
“The Cuyahoga is a national success story,” said Bob Irvin, President and CEO of American Rivers in a news release. “The ‘River of the Year’ honor spotlights the hard work and collaboration by so many in Cleveland to improve the Cuyahoga’s health and turn it into a true asset for the city’s residents and visitors. May this honor also spur continued momentum for clean water in Cleveland and in cities nationwide.”