Demolition of Brecksville Dam Begins

A new chapter in the Cuyahoga River’s history began yesterday as crews began demolition of the Brecksville Dam, located next to the Towpath Trail. The dam, a 1951 upgrade to the Pinery Narrows Dam that was built in 1827, has been a significant impediment to river ecology, fish habitat, and recreational use of the Cuyahoga River. Lowhead dams like the Brecksville Dam have also been a danger to recreational kayakers due to the hydraulic backflow generated by water passing over the bridge.

The original 1827 dam was built to “charge” the canal with water from Brecksville north to Locks 43 and 44 in Cleveland’s Flats. More on the history of the dam can be found at the National Park Service website. If weather cooperates, work at the dam will wrap in time for paddlers to pass through this area on the June 22 anniversary of the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire!

Lisa Petit, Deputy Superintendent of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, provides an overview of the Brecksville Dam removal.

Jennifer Greiser, Cleveland Metroparks Director of Natural Resources and Chair of the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern, provides an ecological overview of the Brecksville Dam removal.

Elaine Marsh, from Friends of the Crooked River, on the long journey of the Brecksville Dam removal project.


Per Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s news release “The section of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail near the river will be closed for the duration of the project (through September 2020). However, a parallel section of trail will remain available, so trail use should not be interrupted. Trail users should be prepared to stop if contractors need to cross the open section of trail with heavy equipment.”