MIAMI COUNTY — The Great Miami Watershed Water Trail has been named a National Water Trail System by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.
The water trail includes the Great Miami, Stillwater and Mad rivers and is the only national water trail in Ohio.
At the June 6 council meeting, Mayor Michael Beamish said it was great news for the city.
“That’s a national water trail,” said Beamish. “We were already given that state-wide distinction as a water trail system … and now it’s a national water trail system … that’s pretty neat stuff.”
Beamish said the Great Miami Watershed Water Trail is the only one in the state of Ohio.
Council member Tom Kendall said the Great Miami River Trail is a significant part of the city of Troy.
“It’s not something in this region that is just given out to everyone, you have to earn it,” Kendall said. “We’re lucky that we have an active organization in this area with the Miami Conservancy (District) who has been able to work with all the rivers this whole area and bringing everything together. It’s something that all the cities along our river can be proud of.”
Besides the Great Miami River Watershed Water Trail, three other water trails — the Shetucket River Water Trail in Connecticut, the Kankakee River Water Trail in Illinois and Indiana, and the Arkansas River Water Trail in Kansas — received the national designation.
There are now 22 national water trail systems.
“Cities will be able to use this designation in promoting their communities,” said Sarah Hippensteel Hall, MCD manager for watershed partnerships. “Since the Great Miami River Watershed Water Trail was designated a state water trail six years ago, we’ve seen hundreds of millions of dollars invested in our riverfront cities.”
The National Water Trails System is a distinctive national network of exemplary water trails that has been established to protect and restore America’s rivers and waterways and increase access to outdoor recreation.
The national trail designation assures paddlers that the water trail incorporates best management practices in a variety of areas including trail design, maintenance, recreation, conservation and public information.
“Our world-class network of national trails provides easily accessible places to enjoy exercise and connect with nature in both urban and rural areas while also boosting tourism and supporting economic opportunities in local communities across the country,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.
Water trails are recreational routes on waterways, such as rivers, with a network of public access points. The Great Miami River Watershed Water Trail boasts 291 miles of waterway accessible to recreational boaters, anglers and wildlife watchers.
The program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service, in conjunction with a number of federal and not-for-profit partners.