Ohio’s Scenic Rivers program is a success


Place a cup of water next to a cup filled with fresh, clean waste on any sidewalk then step away. See which cup gets picked up first. My money is on the cup of cash. That’s the way it is here in the U. S., where money talks and clean water is available and as close as the next fountain or faucet.

But in time that same cup trick might go differently. At least that ugly picture is a possibility if we don’t change some of our ways and values. Sound far-fetched, exaggerated, stupid, and impossible? It’s not.

Clean water

Just look around the world where millions of people would be elated to see a cup of clean water. Fortunately, we have national and state agency watchdogs that are charged with monitoring the environment and water quality but they can’t be everywhere, see everything, or do everything.

One might say it takes a village. That’s us. And indeed it is refreshing and motivating to see how far Ohioans especially have come in the overwhelming task of making our part of the world a better, cleaner place to live by concentrating on our waterways.

And those dedicated “boots-on-the-ground’ folks involved in those efforts deserve recognition. Maybe an Emmy or two. Sit back now and watch a movie. The title ought to tell us what it’s all about: Call of the Scenic River.

Follow the title with a tagline: Discover a National Place Flowing with Untold Beauty. An hour-and-a-half long paddle-powered trip through 50 years of sweat equity and positive growth guided by Ohio’s Scenic Rivers Program, a pioneer in national and state-sponsored wild and scenic river-based conservation.

Protecting streams

The mission of Ohio’s Scenic Rivers program says it all: To protect the natural qualities of Ohio’s remaining high-quality stream systems so present and future generations may experience their natural beauty and ecological values.

In the last half-century of existence, the program has guided the recognition and official protection of 800 miles of Ohio’s thousands of waterway miles. And indeed, the labor of it all comes at the hands of volunteers, lots of them.

Oh, what a job they’ve done. Kayakers and canoeists see it best, mile after mile of undeveloped, undressed, and natural rivers and streams. Scenic, wild, quiet, and refreshing. Clean water, full of creatures and critters, fishes, prey and predators, a biological lesson seen as “the possible.”

It’s all in the movie, a documentary celebrating 50 years of Ohio Scenic Rivers and a must-see for every man, women, and child who cares or should care about tomorrow and the next tomorrow.

Sorry, no special effects in this one, no flashing lights and no artificial lighting. Just sunlight, morning mist, the color of bubbling water, and the glow of accomplishment. When rivers and streams are protected, so goes the future of clean water.

That’s the final measure. According to Matthew Smith, Assistant Regional Scenic River Manager for the ODNR’s Division of Parks and Watercraft, the program to identify and designate additional miles of worthy rivers and streams continues.

To learn more about local Scenic Rivers and how to obtain a copy of the movie, contact Smith at matthew.smith@dnr.state.oh.us.


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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