Garfield Park Reservation
Ahhh, Spring Break in northeast Ohio. Kali was able to get away from work during her university's Spring Break last week, so instead of flying to San Diego to visit my Dad, we drove to northeast Ohio to deal with Kali's mom's house and affairs. I was in the Cleveland suburbs for a full four days, but was extraordinarily busy during the whole period except for one movie (The Adjustment Bureau; it was vacation time, after all), one walk at the Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks, and one nice dinner to reconnect with my best friend from high school, who just happened to be in town from Los Angeles, also dealing with an ailing parent.Oh, and I did sneak out to photograph two waterfalls in the neighborhood (sorry, Jain) on Sunday morning, March 6, after an inch of snow.
Wolf Creek above the falls
The circulation system in the Garfield Park Reservation was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted's firm, and contains carriage roads borne over the small streams on beautiful native Euclid bluestone bridges.
A few hundred feet downstream of the falls, Wolf Creek joins the much larger Mill Creek. Mill Creek is one of the major tributaries of the Cuyahoga River--and probably one of its dirtiest, too. The Mill Creek watershed has been used and abused for years, with suburban development encroaching up to the very edge of the creek and combined sewer overflows adding nutrients and Lord knows what else to the stream.
Several thousand feet upstream of its confluence with the Cuyahoga River, Mill Creek plunges over the tallest waterfall (48 feet) in Cuyahoga County. Until the Cleveland Metroparks resurrected the area immediately surrounding the falls a few years ago, it had been hidden away in the back of an industrial park, known only to local residents (and kids who were inclined to trespass to find any hint of natural excitement). Now, it's been outfitted with observation platforms and a landscaped park.
Mill Creek Falls
Garfield Park Reservation (extension)
Ever since the region was settled, the area around the falls has been industrialized because the falls were used a source of water power. In fact, the falls is not even in its original location. Early in the 20th century, the falls was moved 300 feet to provide space for a railroad right-of-way. The neighborhood around the falls is depressed and post-industrial, with several large roads criss-crossing just upstream.
The gorge downstream of Mill Creek Falls
Railing at observation platform
Mill Creek Falls
To reflect the long relationship between people and the falls, Cleveland Metroparks developed an observation area with a decorative railing depicting the human history of the region. On the right side of the railing, you may be able to discern the outline of a mule's head, a tribute to the mules that pulled canal boats on the Ohio and Erie Canal less than a mile away.