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Torch traveling Cuyahoga River to mark 50 years since infamous fire

This is one of several events being held to commemorate 50 years since the river caught fire.
Credit: AP
Cleveland firefighters aboard the Anthony J. Celebrezze fire boat extinguish hot spots on a railroad bridge torched by burning fluids and debris on the Cuyahoga River in 1969, in Cleveland. Fifty years after the Cuyahoga River's famous fire, a plucky new generation of Cleveland artists and entrepreneurs has turned the old jokes about the “mistake on the lake” into inspiration and forged the decades of embarrassment into a fiery brand of local pride. (Mitchell Zaremba/The Plain Dealer via AP)

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio — A national park that protects about a quarter of the Cuyahoga River is preparing to celebrate the river's health 50 years after it infamously caught fire.

A ceremonial torch traveling the length of the 85-mile-long river will make a stop in Cuyahoga Valley National Park on Friday afternoon on its way to Cleveland.

RELATED: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to help mark 50 years since Cuyahoga River caught fire

The public event comes one day before the 50th anniversary of the June 22, 1969, fire. It will feature the passing of the Xtinguish Torch Fest torch along with music, poetry and the unveiling of a new sculpture.

Speakers, including a regional director of the National Park Service, will outline efforts to restore the river from its abysmal earlier condition to a vibrant place for wildlife and outdoor recreation.