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Ohio Canalway "Best of the Road"
Rand Mcnally/USA Today features NEO driving route

Mark Urycki
More than 300 signs mark the driving routes between Lake Eries and Schoenbrunn Village in New Philadelphia
Courtesy of urycki
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Restoration of the Ohio Canal towpath from Cleveland to Zoar has been embraced by local travelers.  But now it’s getting some national attention.  Rand McNally and USA Today have included the Ohio Canalway in their “Best of the Road” series.   It’s a collection of road trips they say “must be traveled once in a lifetime.”  WKSU’s Mark Urycki has details
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The Ohio Canalway embraces the industrial history of Northeast Ohio.  This mill is making steel in Cleveland's flats near the Cuyahoga River next to the site where John Rockefeller created Standard Oil
The canal runs through Lock 3 Park in downtown Akron
A bottle car and a steel heritage museum along the towpath at Steelyard Commons in Cleveland
A Canalway suspension bridges
Interpretive waystations  along the towpath trail
One of the two National First Ladies Library buildings in Canton
The towpath in Akron
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is part of a side route to Canton from the main route through Massillon

Renovation of the Ohio Canal towpath began in earnest in 1996 (year), after Congress named it one of the country’s first National Heritage Areas.   The Ohio Canalway, as it’s known, includes a spine of roads, canals, rivers and railroads from historic Schoenbrunn village in Tuscarawas County to Cleveland’s lakefront. Tim Donovan of the Ohio and Erie Canalway says it applied to the National Park Service and won designation in 2000 as an “America Byway.”    

“ It’s a new kind of park.  In our case,  it’s a case it’s a mix of both natural areas, cultural areas,  historic resources,  scenic resources, archeological sites.   In our case, its theme and its framework comes from the construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal yet recognizes the next iterative form of transportation – the railroad as represented by the scenic railroad.”

The many partners along the 110-mile canalway collected the 20 sites along the route that are featured in Rand McNally/USA Today’s “Best of the Road “ series.  Those range from the National First Ladies Library to a tour through the industrial flats of Cleveland.  Donovan says there’s an interpretive storyline of transportation and industrial history along the Canalway .   The route is marked today with more than 300 blue and orange signs. 

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