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FEATURED RECREATIONAL TRAILS PROGRAM PROJECT


Ohio’s Great Miami River Land and water trails follow the 157-mile stream


The Troy Foundation Bridge on the Great Miami River Bikeway; photo from Miami County


By Ken McCall Bike Miami Valley


T


wo of the best gifts to people in Southwest Ohio who like to get outside are the Great


Miami River Water Trail and its companion Great Miami River Bikeway.





hundreds of people biking, running, walking, inline skating, and paddling the corridor, which runs north to south along the western side of the state. The river, named for the Mi- ami tribe that once lived in the area, stretches 157 miles from its headwaters near Indian Lake in Logan County to the Ohio River. In the process it runs through seven counties and 12 cities. The river was named a state-des- ignated water trail by the Ohio Depart- ment of Natural Resources in 2010.


16 FALL 2016 AmericanTrails.org


The river’s entire watershed— which includes the Mad and Stillwater rivers, along with three creeks— was named a national water trail in June 2016. It is only one of 22 national water trail systems in the country. The Great Miami Bikeway currently


runs 58 continuous miles from Piqua south to Franklin. An additional 18 miles are further south in Middletown and Hamilton. The bikeway contains a stretch that was the beginning of the Dayton region’s 330-mile trail net- work— the nation’s largest system of paved trails.


The whole bikeway network is estimated to draw 90,000 unique visitors every year, accounting for more than 772,000 trail visits, according to trail sur- veys coordinated by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission. But for residents of— and visitors


to— the region, what really matters is how the trails let them get out and enjoy


the many environments the rivers run through.


Angela Manuszak, special projects


coordinator for the Miami Conservancy - trol agency, said the Great Miami River provides an astonishing variety of views and attractions. “I think the Great Miami River Bikeway is unique due to the diversity of scenery,” Manuszak said. “You have the country. You have the forests. You have the farmlands. And then you also have these really cool, historic river towns, and vibrant urban centers with all the arts going on and diverse inter- ests everywhere.” Manuszak said residents are lucky to have such an uninterrupted amenity running through the region. “I don’t know of any other string of cities this long where the riverfront is almost 100 percent accessible to the public.”


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