July 8, 2006
MUSKINGUM RIVER DESIGNATED AS OHIO’S NEWEST WATER TRAIL
The 112-mile Muskingum is Ohio’s longest
navigable river lying entirely within the state
COLUMBUS, OH The historic, 112-mile Muskingum River in southeast Ohio became the state’s second water trail today, following designation by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
ODNR officials, along with a variety of state and local partners, participated in a ceremony at Malta Park in Morgan County that coincided with the Muskingum Riverfest, an annual celebration of boating, music and folk arts on the river.
The Ohio Water Trails initiative serves to increase accessibility to rivers and streams for Ohio’s paddlesport and boating enthusiasts through proper design and siting of launch ramps and up-to-date navigational information. A water trail is similar to a hiking or biking trail with one critical difference the trailway already exists and access just needs to be provided. The Kokosing State Scenic River in Knox County was designated as the state’s first water trail last year.
“These designated water trails provide paddlers and anglers with safe and convenient access points to enjoy the state’s thousands of miles of rivers and streams,” said ODNR Director Sam Speck. “The Muskingum River Water Trail and similar trails that we hope to designate in the future will improve public access to some of Ohio’s finest outdoor recreational opportunities.”
The Muskingum, the longest navigable river that lies completely within Ohio, flows from Coshocton to Marietta through four counties and some of the state’s most picturesque scenery. Two hundred years ago the river was a pathway, carrying settlers into frontier Ohio and the Northwest Territory. It remains an important link to the state’s heritage, with its 10 hand-operated wooden locks, developed in the early 1800s, still in service today. This unique lock and dam system has been designated a National Civil Engineering Landmark. Earlier this year, the lock system joined the National Register of Historic Places. In coming weeks, the National Park Service is expected to designate the river as the nation’s first National Historic Navigation District.
A newly published water trail map and guide to the Muskingum will help boaters discover the important historic, environmental and recreational aspects of the river and the rich Appalachian culture of its surrounding valley.
Designation of the Muskingum River as a state water trail grew out of a public-private partnership between the ODNR divisions of Watercraft, Parks & Recreation and Wildlife, the Ohio Historical Society, the Muskingum Valley Park District, commercial marinas and campgrounds in the area, local boating clubs, and the communities of Coshocton, Zanesville, McConnelsville, Malta and Marietta.
The ODNR Division of Watercraft leads the Ohio Water Trails initiative, with support from the ODNR divisions of Natural Areas & Preserves, Real Estate & Land Management, Parks & Recreation and Wildlife. Outside organizations that serve on the Ohio Water Trails workgroup include the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (Ohio Greenways), the National Park Service’s Rivers & Trails Program, the League of Ohio Sportsmen and the Ohio Smallmouth Alliance. Additional information on the Ohio Water Trails initiative is available on the ODNR web site at ohiodnr.com .