Bike trail and river conditions just a couple clicks away

By Sarah Hippensteel Hall, Ph.D., manager of watershed partnerships

Before you head out on your next cycling or paddling adventure along the Great Miami, be sure to check out bike trail and river conditions. It’s always best to know before you go!

The live Bike Trail and River Conditions Map on the Great Miami Riverway website helps you understand river water levels and whether or not bike trail sections may be under water after rain events. And now, the Riverway has launched a River Water Bacteria Levels Map to provide information on river water quality.

Bike Trail Conditions

It’s always a good idea to check bike trail conditions before you go, especially if we’ve seen rain lately. Some trails are located within the levee systems that protect our cities from high water—and that means trail sections might be under water after rain or storms. You don’t want to leave the comfort of your house only to find out that a section of your favorite trail is covered with water.

The map’s color-coded symbols are set up just like a traffic signal, making it easy to read.

 

 

 

River Conditions

You can also check the river water levels to see if water conditions are appropriate for your experience level.

 

 

 

When paddling, it’s also a good idea to consider:

  • Wind
  • Weather
  • Temperature
  • Floating debris
  • River current
  • Boat size
  • Skill level
  • Ability to launch safely

IF IN DOUBT, DON’T GO OUT.

And keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Always wear a life jacket.
  • Never paddle alone.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back.
  • You can find more safety tips here.

River Bacteria Levels – How High Is Unsafe for Recreation?

New to the Great Miami Riverway website is a map that helps river users understand water quality conditions and potential bacteria levels. The map promotes public health and safety by helping you decide when the water is safe to paddle.

 

 

 

Rain events can cause bacteria levels in river water to rise to an unsafe level for human contact. Bacteria can get into the river water from a variety of sources, including pet waste, storm sewers, septic tanks, and farm fields. And that bacteria can make you sick if you swallow any river water.

Using research conducted by the Miami Conservancy District, this Riverway web app estimates the concentration of E. coli bacteria, an indicator of fecal pollution, during different weather conditions. The Ohio EPA advises that recreation waters are unsafe for human contact when E. coli is > 298 colony counts per 100 mL of water.

Using these maps will help ensure your next adventure is not only fun but safe.

Find your way—safely—along the Great Miami Riverway!

This blog is also published on the Great Miami Riverway website.

Regional trails draw worldwide attention

By Angela Manuszak, Special Projects Coordinator

Many everyday items that make life easier were invented in the Dayton region. The airplane. The pop-top can. The cash register. Dayton is also home to some pretty amazing, more natural creations, too, namely, our rivers – and the hiking and biking trails near them. And while our trails don’t get the same attention as the airplane or the cash register, our regional trails are about to get noticed in a big way.

The American Trails’ International Trails Symposium heads to the Dayton region, May 7-10. The ITS is a biennial symposium that brings together the worldwide trails community to experience regional trails and advocate for the economic and environmental power of trails.

But what’s so special about our rivers and trails?

With 340 miles of trails to explore, this region boasts the largest, paved trail network in the country

Contiguous land ownership

MCD owns extensive and contiguous riverfront land in cities along the Great Miami River as part of its flood protection system. It also preserved floodplains at each of its five dry dams. Upstream of each dam are vast tracts of land meant to flood occasionally so downstream cities don’t. MCD’s first chief engineer, Arthur Morgan, persuaded the MCD Board of Directors to open thousands of acres of the “retarding basins” to the public.

Today, each dam’s forested greenspaces are wrapped with hiking trails, traversed by bike trails, dotted with picnic areas, then splashed with river launch ramps – all managed in partnership with county park districts, especially Five Rivers MetroParks.

In the 1970s, a grassroots effort to build a paved, connected trail on MCD’s riverfront property led to the first major segment of trail – an 8-mile loop on both banks of the Great Miami River in Dayton. While flood protection remains the highest purpose of the land, trails are a compatible use that has transformed our region. The Great Miami River Bike Trail now has a total of nearly 80 miles completed, and new sections will be constructed before 2020. Other trails – built by MCD partners and colleagues — radiate like bike wheel spokes from Dayton in every direction.

The Buckeye Trail is one of many hiking trails throughout the region.

Recognition
Every year the trail network’s fame grows. MCD’s trails:

  • Host part of the North Country and Buckeye trails.
  • Have been named National Recreation Trails.
  • Are designated to carry part of US Bike Route 50 across the state.

Connect several sites of the National Aviation Heritage Area.

The Great Miami, Stillwater and Mad rivers, along with Greenville, Buck and Twin creeks are the only nationally designated water trail in Ohio and one of only 22 in the country. The Great Miami, Stillwater and Mad rivers also are a state designated water trail.

State and national designated water trails

Our rivers are getting plenty of attention, too. Last year, the Great Miami, Mad and Stillwater rivers along with Greenville, Buck and Twin creeks were designated the first and only National Water Trail in the state of Ohio. The national water trail designation by the U.S. Department of Interior is given only to those water trails that are exemplary. The Great Miami, Stillwater and Mad rivers also are state-designated water trails.

Soon the world will know
With all of the amazing trails nearby, no wonder American Trails chose the Dayton region for its 2017 ITS. We are proud to join the list of celebrated trail cities that have hosted this conference in the past, including: Portland, Oregon; Tucson; Chattanooga; Austin; and Orlando. We hope you will join us for the symposium or one of the related events open to the public. Go to americantrails.org to learn more.