Where the Towpath Ends – Part 1 of 2
Those great philosophers, the Rolling Stones, once posited, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need.” The Towpath Trail is the name of a transportation and recreation trail which will eventually extend from New Philadelphia to Cleveland. It basically follows an historic towpath (path traversed by animals towing canal boats) running alongside the Ohio & Erie Canal for as long as practicable.
image courtesy of Cleveland Memory, Special Collections,
Michael Schwartz Library, Cleveland State University
But planners ran into major challenges near the northern end of the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation (OECR). Namely, the canal bed disappears and the historic route is no longer accessible. Heading north into Cleveland, planners need to be creative.
[Towpath Trail looking north, just south of the 6 mile marker. Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation – photo DK]
In the picture above, you’ll see a paved section of Towpath Trail with the old canal bed to the right providing a home to trees and brush. The paved path running up the hill to the right is on a slag heap, which is essentially a pile of leftovers from the steel-making process. From north of where that path intersects the Towpath Trail, the old canal bed has been filled in, except for about 100 yards of canal bed that remain between some parking lots in the area of Canal Basin Park in downtown Cleveland. Essentially, the historic towpath alongside the canal now ends about where the trail up to Furnace Ridge begins because of fill. The northernmost half mile of Towpath Trail in OECR rejoins its historic route, but the canal bed is long gone beneath tons of fill.