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MY VIEW: Making use of our river

When I look at the Ohio River, I see a recreational resource that is not being used to its fullest potential.

Monday, June 04, 2001

When I look at the Ohio River, I see a recreational resource that is not being used to its fullest potential.

Where are the fishermen?

Where are the power boats, row boats, kayaks and canoes?

Where are the personal watercraft?

Where are the water skiers?

Sure, I see the barges that use the river to transport raw materials and manufactured goods up and down the waterway. And that’s a productive use of the river. But why don’t we use the river for fun, too?

Back where I grew up in Central Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna River is a mecca for recreation. On any given spring, summer or fall day, the river is alive with boaters, skiers, tubers and fishermen.

In the Detroit area, thousands of boaters use the St. Clair and Detroit rivers without interfering with the commercial traffic that uses the river.

Three weeks ago, my wife and I enjoyed a boat ride up the Detroit with my son and his wife. Everywhere you looked, you could see power and sail boats and personal watercraft. Fishermen were dropping lines. Lots of people were having fun on the water.

Recent news from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Ironton City Council indicate our view of the Ohio River may be changing.

The corps will seek federal funding next year for a major cleanup of the river.

And Ironton council gave its approval to move forward with plans to expand and improve the city marina. Council’s finance committee approved a modest fee structure for boaters who want to dock in the marina. It now goes to council for final approval.

Collecting fees for the use of the marina is a positive step because it will insure that the marina will generate money to operate in the future.

Now, we have to hope that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will approve a $300,000 grant to dredge the channel between the marina and the river and to add more docking space. Also, we have to hope that Ironton will find money or grants to complete other planned projects including picnic areas, camp sites, parking areas and an access road to the site.

Developing the recreational potential of the Ironton marina is a good project that will augment federal plans to improve the river.

And it’s another positive step toward our using the Ohio River for having fun.