Fine Arts and Fest

Elevation 2014

Chad W. Lutz
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is an unbelievable treasures tucked away in the heart of our country. If you live in Northeast Ohio this is probably old news. However, there are some residents living in the area that forget the park even exists. With the exceptions of weekend warriors and avid runners, the trickle of river beds and rustle of wooded trails are often background music to the metropolitan menageries created by the urban sprawl of the Cleveland-Akron-Canton Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Every year, more than 2 million people flock to Northeast Ohio to visit the 33,000-acre park. Many come just to go for quiet hikes along the shaded Towpath, while others take to the trails to find hidden gems like Buttermilk Falls or Twin Sisters Falls. There are breathtaking scenic views, like those found on the Ledges Trail at Virginia Kendall, historic landmarks, quaint towns, and even a railroad tour of the valley, which operates year-round.

In an effort to bring together the history, majesty, and community the park inspires, the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers an intimate way to enjoy what many already hold as an indispensable hallmark of our state. On June 20, park lovers, naturalists, laissez-faire outdoors-humans, and the completely disinterested alike are all invited to partake in the 2014 Elevation held at the Ledges Shelter off of Truxell Road.

The event will include traditional bonfire trappings as well as some modern twists. John Debo, Chief Development Officer for the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park explains that: "Elevation is a one-of-a-kind event designed for millennials and the young-at-heart to come out for an evening of hiking, great food and drink, music, dancing and campfires 'under the stars' at the sublime Virginia Kendall Ledges in Cuyahoga Valley National Park." Debo estimates around 300 will attend, but in the true spirit of the National Park system, the more the merrier.

Elevation is a "fundraising-free" event. There are no gimmicks or silent auctions or even bratty collection officers wandering around asking you to sign up for petitions. The evening is merely in celebration of solstice, John reassures, and to "revel in the evening and late-night beauty of Ohio’s only national park."

Tickets are still available for the one-of-a-kind event via the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park website. Festivities kick off at 6:30pm. Friday, June 20th, with a one-hour hike through the park, followed by a trail-mix bar, drinks, music, and mingling. General admission tickets gain attendees access to the dinner buffet, beer and wine, and the live entertainment, while "Park Patron Passes" include the ranger-led hike, access to the shelter pavilion VIP area, the wine, the beer, the food, and a commemorative wine glass.