PORTSMOUTH – Last week, two large canoes disembarked on the Ohio River heading West from Portsmouth, Ohio. The boaters inside, including Portsmouth Mayor Sean Dunne, were celebrating the grand opening of the Ohio River Way.
The Ohio River Way is a 250-mile paddling adventure between Portsmouth and Louisville, Kentucky. The journey takes approximately 10 days and features 18 river communities, including Vanceburg (KY), Manchester Island (OH), Manchester (OH), Maysville (KY), Ripley (OH), August (KY), Chilo (OH), New Richmond (OH), Cincinnati (OH), Covington (KY), Aurora (IN), Boone’s Landing (KY), Vevay (IN), Carrollton (KY), Madison (IN), Westport (KY), and Louisville (KY).
The mission of the Ohio River Way is to help people find adventure, inspire care for the land and water, and boost the economies of vibrant Ohio River communities by building partnerships that promote safe, healthy outdoor recreation, education, and tourism.
“There were people from many cities who participated,” said Mayor Dunne. “Many were from Cincinnati and Louisville. And everyone had gone boating before besides me – I was the biggest rookie out of everyone. It was a great group of people to be with for five days.”
Dunne did half the trail between Portsmouth and Cincinnati. Over the five days, he paddled for 6-8 hours each day, occupied the time on the boat with music, discussions, readings (and even the occasional song), toured the river towns along the way, and camped outside during the night.
“The weather was pretty good. We had a bit of rain the second day, and we did have thunderstorms one night – but it was an experience. I had never slept outside during a thunderstorm and I really enjoyed it.”
“There were three major forces behind this: the political aspect with ribbon cutting and public officials getting involved, the intellectual aspect of learning more about the river and river communities, and recreation. This was a lot of fun. And it establishes Portsmouth as part of a region. We can now see how interconnected we are to other river cities. We can now see we have good leisure activities here. And we can use this to encourage visitors.”
Dunne sees the Ohio River Way, coupled with new paddle enhancement grant funds, as ways to further establish Portsmouth as a lifestyle city.
“We are the easternmost town along the Ohio River Way to get those grants. I think it’s great. We are able to develop a new appreciation for the river and its town and cities along the way,” Dunne said.
Representative Brad Wenstrup and Portsmouth City Councilman Dennis Packard attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at the halfway point in Cincinnati.
“I’ve been meeting with organizers since last year. It’s been a great process to watch unfold. I will say – no other elected official did this. But I did. And I did so because it’s an important step to move us forward in Portsmouth,” Dunne said.
To learn more information about the Ohio River Way, visit ohioriverrecreationtrail.org.
Two canoes filled with participants left Portsmouth, Ohio last week to officially open the Ohio River Way. The recreational water trail highlights 18 river communities between Portsmouth and Louisville, KY.
Mayor Dunne poses with a representative from the Rosemary Clooney Museum in Augusta. Participants got to tour some of the 18 river communities each evening.
Portsmouth 6th Ward Councilman Dennis Packard attended the Ohio River Way ribbon cutting in Cincinati with Representative Brad Wenstrup.
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