Free the Falls: Summit Metro Parks raising funds to remove the Gorge Dam

Posted at 6:24 AM, Jun 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-23 07:23:05-04

A popular historic attraction in Summit County is now on deck for a huge makeover.

It's all an effort to preserve the water and ecosystems in that area.

Environmentalist say it’s time to get rid of the dam at Gorge Park in Cuyahoga Falls but letting go is a bit tough for some sightseers, like Andrea Morgan.

“A lot of it makes it pretty nostalgic, so not having it here, it's kind of a bummer," she said. “We used to come here all the time as a family when we were younger."

But she had no clue what lies beneath the Dam.

“This is very spectacular geology,” said Elaine Marsh, Watershed Specialist for the Summit County MetroParks. “In the late 1800s, this was the number one tourist attraction in Northeast Ohio.”

The falls in the early 18th century brought people out in droves. But then power plants needed a dam to transport energy, so it was created over the falls.

Now the tide is changing again.

"Essentially the dam now is a relic, it provides no useful function and it is a huge impediment water quality," said Marsh.

Other dams, like the Kent and Munroe Falls dams along the river have come down in years past and now it’s the gorge dam's turn.

“This dam is one of the largest unresolved water quality problems left on the Cuyahoga River," Marsh said.

The hope is to restore the river back to its natural state.

“It is bringing a full circle for the river," she said.

Even if it rubs a few the wrong way, like Morgan.

“I am bummed, I think this is one of my favorite parks to come to,” she said.

“Everyone can have their own opinion but I mean you have to think of the environment," said Tony Walton, another park visitor who enjoys fishing at the gorge.

Sunday from noon to 2 p.m., Cuyahoga Falls city officials will hold an informational meeting at River Front Park about the cleanup efforts for the river.

Right now, there's no set date on when the dam will be removed.

When removed, environmentalist say they think the type of water underneath could allow for whitewater rafting in in the park, something that will be unique to our area.