The area of the Cuyahoga River around Rivergate Park and Merwin’s Wharf is seeing an increase in recreational users and their human-powered watercraft. Rowers have been using the area for decades and their regattas now draw competitors from neighboring states; dragon boaters paddle with the intensity of people with fire in their bellies; and kayakers are abundant enough that it’s not unusual to see their lot portage the parking areas.
But a lot like life, we usually need to move aside the recreation when there’s serious work to be done. The Cuyahoga River is still a navigable waterway, and there are large vessels that need to deliver their cargo in order for area commerce to continue. Once the large vessels have passed, it’s back to the fun on the river! It’s been like this for quite some time . . . since a few decades back, when the river became just inviting enough to a few intrepid souls who wouldn’t let some flotsam and jetsam deter them from their frolic amongst our natural resources. Prior to that, and going back about a century, commercial shipping traffic with their rigid hulls was about all you’d see braving the waters of the Cuyahoga.
Photo courtesy of Cleveland Public Library Digital Library
Cropped from photo courtesy of Cleveland Public Library Digital Library
So next time you’re out recreating on our glorious Cuyahoga River and you have to move aside for a large cargo vessel, instead of lamenting their presence and your inconvenience, relish your opportunity to relax and find solace in reflecting that they’re contributing immensely to our economy . . . and know that they’ve been plying those waters for a long time and they’ve still got a lot of hard work to do.
Now get out there and play! Safely! [Always wear an approved personal floatation device (PFD) and monitor marine traffic on VHF channel 16.]