Established in 1989, Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to developing the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail as a recreational and cultural asset in Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas Counties. In addition, the Coalition provides educational programs, events, and publications about the Canalway, while developing strong working relationships with partners to preserve and interpret the natural, historical and recreational resources throughout the area.
Since its designation in 1996, the Canalway Coalition and our partners to the north, Canalway Partners, have jointly managed the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area, celebrating our history, culture, natural resources and recreational opportunities with visitors interested in learning about the history of the canal and it's impact on our region.
Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition shall stimulate public interest and support for the protection, preservation, development and enhancement of the historical, natural and recreational resources along the route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.
The OECC shall encourage local, regional and nationwide recognition of the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area:
Coordinating and representing the interests of the citizens, corporate community and government agencies in Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas counties.
Working toward establishing a continuous physical link along or near the planned Canalway.
Encouraging and assisting the development of compatible economic ventures throughout the Ohio & Erie Canalway.
Developing strong working relationships with partners to preserve and interpret the natural, recreational and historic resources throughout the Canalway.
Incorporating the needs of the local community into the Canalway plan through meetings with government and business leaders to enhance the quality of life along the Canalway.
Promoting and developing educational programs which interpret the natural, historical and recreational resources along the Canalway.
Like many of you, we are deeply saddened and outraged by the continued violence toward our black brothers and sisters, family and friends. We mourn the losses of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice and countless others subjected to injustice, and we acknowledge our responsibility to challenge and end systemic racism. We remain committed to creating accessible and equitable parks, trails and public spaces for all people, regardless of race, gender, income, sexual orientation and gender identity, education and experience. These recent events have hardened our resolve to double-down on our commitment that access to and safety in public spaces for everyone is a right, not a privilege. However, words are meaningless without action and we are using this moment to focus on the following actions:
Develop and implement a diversity, equity and inclusion policy within our organization.
With the input of residents and support of elected officials, corporations and organizations, proactively address issues of equity in our parks, trails and open spaces, and reverse the legacy of “things being done to and not with our communities.”
Elevate this issue within our organization by incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion within our Governance Committee and Strategic Plan.
Our Board will work to be more diverse and increase our efforts to build a diverse board that represents the communities we serve.
We humbly seek an attitude of understanding while listening and serving our communities and partners throughout the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area. We shall hold ourselves accountable to these actions and invite our partners, members and funders to hold us accountable as well.
As a non-profit, we work with community, government and corporate business leaders in Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas counties to develop economic opportunities throughout the National Heritage Area. We have created collaborative relationships with elected officials, community leaders, park districts, local businesses, and volunteers. We work closely with these partners to develop trail plans, encourage community engagement, and maintain the Towpath Trail.
In an effort to truly activate the Ohio & Erie Canalway, the OECC also hosts many educational programs including the Cargill Bluegill Fishing Derby, Canoe Adventure, Tour Du Towpath, the Goodyear Towpath Trek, Canal Clean Ups, and Healthy Steps. These events are designed to educate children and adults on the historical, recreational and educational resources along the Ohio & Erie Canalway, while often supporting the work that still needs to be done.