This year marks the 50th anniversary of the infamous Cuyahoga River fire, which captured national attention, despite being the 13th documented time the river had caught fire.
This anniversary and the subsequent transformation of the Cuyahoga River are being celebrated by Cuyahoga50, a local nonprofit putting on the largest series of public clean water events in the country, with more than 25 events over 5 days.
The June 22, 1969 fire was covered in Time Magazine and became a symbol of environmental decay across the country and made Cleveland a laughingstock for years to come.
Both locally and nationally, that fire on the Cuyahoga River sparked an environmentalism movement that created the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 and the Clean Water Act in 1972.
The Cuyahoga River has made amazing strides since then, becoming a clean, beautiful destination for sightseeing, water sports, and more.
But Cuyahoga50 also recognizes the environmental threats that still exist, such as algal blooms, climate change, plastic pollution, and invasive species. Cuyahoga50 hopes to combat these with local action and strong policy.
Cuyahoga50 is hosting a series of events from June 19-23, including beach cleanups, lectures, art exhibitions, Fred Walks CLE events, a lighted boat parade, free admission at the Great Lakes Science Center, and much more.
Get involved by learning more about how we worked our way from a national joke to a leader in environmentalism and then attend some of the events celebrating the mighty Cuyahoga River!
***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Cuyahoga50. In exchange, I received a complimentary Cuyahoga50 swag bag. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***