Tinker’s Creek History


Tinker’s Creek is named after Joseph Tinker, the principal boatman for Moses Cleaveland’s survey crew, who died in a boating accident on a return trip to New England. The steepness and rockiness of the Tinker’s Creek gorge, now a part of the Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation, made much of the land along the creek bed inaccessible for homes and farming, securing its preservation as a natural area. Tinker’s Creek is the largest tributary of the Cuyahoga River, draining parts of 24 different political jurisdictions, spanning Portage, Geauga, Summit, and Cuyahoga counties. Tinker’s Creek has a drainage area of 96.4 square miles and a total length of about 30 miles. It enters the Cuyahoga River at river mile 16.36.

The watershed lies on a glaciated plateau. Soils are mostly silt loam and clayey silt loam. Wetland swamps, bogs, and fens are common in the upper watershed. Flows in the lower section of the creek are highly influenced by the discharge of treated wastewater from upstream wastewater treatment plants; in 1991 the combined effluent had a median discharge of 11.623 mgd or 17.9 cubic feet per second. Portions of the stream are on bedrock and form waterfalls which are a natural barrier to fish passage. The lower portions of the stream have formed the Tinker’s Creek Gorge, which is a National Natural Landmark.

Recent acquisitions in the basin by MetroParks Serving Summit County and the Cleveland Metroparks have increased the amount of protected watershed in the basin. Many local communities are also involved in protecting and acquiring parkland in the basin. (Ohio EPA, Lower Cuyahoga TMDL).