NEWELL, W.Va. — Although it only touches the tip of West Virginia, a popular water trail across three states is now recognized as a National Recreational Trail. The Ohio River Water Trail recently received the designation from the U.S. Department of the Interior.
“This is a program that recognizes the good work that folks do to provide trails to their communities,” said Helen Scully National Recreation Trail Coordinator for the Department of the Interior. “Throughout time and across the country these trails touch everybody from urban areas out into the wild. It’s a way for us to encourage folks to build trails.”
The Ohio River Water Trail starts at the Point in Pittsburgh and stretches all the way downstream on the Ohio River to Newell, West Virginia and East Liverpool, Ohio. The trail encompasses 69 miles of water and includes three miles of the Beaver River, four miles of Raccoon Creek, and 16 miles of Little Beaver Creek. All of those streams are tributaries of the Ohio River.
The the national trail designation started in 1969 and over the years more than a thousand trails have been added to the national network in every state. The water trails are a growing trend as the popularity of paddle sports has increased.
“That’s been a trend that’s developed over the last ten years or more as water trails are becoming popular and recognized,” said Scully.
There are minimal requirements for the trail to receive national recognition. The trail needs a website with information on the boundaries. There has to be available information on overnight spots such as places to camp and in the case of a water trail boating access points. The trail also needs to be well marked so users don’t get lost.
“There is a national logo which we start them off with two signs to mark the trail with the national designation,” Scully said. “We encourage them to use it in all signage and anything that promotes the trail.”
Learn more about the Ohio River Water Trail Here.