274-mile long Ohio River Recreational Trail
The 274-mile long Ohio River Recreational Trail will receive planning assistance from the National Park Service from the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (press release attached).
“This is outstanding news!” according to David Wicks, co-director of the Ohio River Recreational Trail initiative. “The National Park Service has tremendous experience in guiding the development of water trails throughout the country, and to receive planning assistance from them is quite an honor.” The Ohio River Recreational Trail, ORRT, starts at Portsmouth, Ohio and ends in West Point, Kentucky, with Cincinnati as the halfway point.
“One of our goals is to create the resources people need to explore and enjoy the Ohio River valley, its beauty, towns, history and people”, stated Brewster Rhoads, trail co-director. “This award will help us create a trail that will ultimately be recognized by the National Park Service as a National Water Trail.” The ORRT will be a focal point in connecting with other National Park Service designated National Water Trails in the Ohio River basin.
The National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program recipients are selected following a competitive process. Only eight projects will receive assistance this year in the southeastern US. “Unique to the Ohio River Recreational Trail project is the multi-state focus of this trail,” commented Russel Clark, Landscape Architect with the National Park Service. “There are three states involved in this project, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. As such, we will have two National Park Service offices working on this project, one in Ohio and one in Kentucky.” The National Park Service will provide expert consultation to help spur local recreation, conservation and economic development opportunities.
The trail will be useable from both land and water and will be supported by an on-line digital guide developed by Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana Regional Council of Governments. The digital guide will contain the information and resources needed for either land-based or water-based tourism. The guide will provide details about the Ohio River such as marinas, locks and dams, weather and water condition information, as well as information on hiking and bicycling trails located along the river. In addition, it will have links to river community websites and social media pages where local points of interest and amenities including lodging, restaurants and shops can be posted.
The second annual Ohio River Recreational canoe paddle will be held again in early summer of 2020.