Its official! The 50th year of the Ohio Scenic River Act has started. Two hundred people gathered in Columbus to celebrate this bill that was passed on Feb. 28, 1968.
Former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives who signed its passage in 1968 was there. The first manager of the newly created program was here. The current director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and current Scenic River staff were there, and so were lots of people who love and protect the 14 state and 3 national scenic rivers in our state.
Ohio was the first state in the nation that passed a law to protect its rivers. It even beat the federal government in this protection by 8 months!
We celebrated the progress that has been made: from a river clogged with concrete, tires, and debris of all kinds to one that is relatively clean. From one that stank to one that only smells of nature.
We have to thank Glenn Thompson, the editor of the Dayton Journal Herald at the time, for making it possible for us to enjoy the quiet beauty of the Little Miami River, a place he dreamed someday would be a ‘corridor of green from one end to the other, where individuals and families will enjoy peace and quiet and restoration of the spirit that comes with clean water, birds and trees.”
He inspired 50 years of nurturing the Little Miami River back to health. Many organizations still work to keep his dream alive and are worried about the next 50!
This newspaper has agreed to be the Print Media Sponsor of these anniversary years and highlight a different organization that is playing a role in preserving the character of the river each month.
They are all part of an umbrella organization known as the Little Miami Watershed Network. They all want to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Ohio and National Scenic River Acts that were Thompson’s dream and they have all been instrumental in the recovery of the Little Miami River. Like you, they play a role in its future health and beauty too.
So lets set the stage. Many people don’t know what a watershed is or where the boundaries of the Little Miami watershed are. That is a fair question since the boundaries are not marked in any way and it’s pretty big. Former Speaker Chuck Kurfess on Wednesday called for the marking of these boundaries on roads that pass through them.
A Watershed is the area that is drained by a ditch, creek, stream, river, etc., when it rains. Water runs down hill so all the land that is higher than the streambed is the watershed. Small streams join with larger rivers that flow into oceans and make a bigger watershed each time they join a larger body of water. In this area, for example, Possum Run that starts in Kettering near the new Cornerstone development has a watershed that becomes part of the Little Sugarcreek watershed that becomes part of the Sugarcreek watershed and joins the Little Miami River watershed near the SR 725 bridge which in turn becomes part of the Ohio River watershed, and it just keeps building like that.
The Little Miami River watershed drains about 1700 square miles of land. It touches the Great Miami River watershed at Shoyer Road in Kettering on its west side. On its east side, it extends past Wilmington to the Scioto River watershed.
Everyone lives in a watershed. The watershed contains wetlands, streams, and gullies, all of which carry water downhill. The river itself, without the smaller streams that join it, runs though 5 counties before it flows into the Ohio River in Hamilton County, 107 miles from and 705 feet lower than its source in Clark County.
Each month a different organization that works to keep the Little Miami River watershed a special place will tell you more about this river we all love.
The Little Miami watershed is filled with interesting geology, history, and endangered nature. It is a great place to come to refresh your body and spirit and enjoy nature at its finest.
Be sure you don’t miss a single Wednesday after the first Friday of each month. The stories will be good ones.
Hopt Taft is the former Ohio First Lady, resident and guest columnist.
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