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Group seeks scenic river designation for Symmes Creek

Southeastern Ohio does not have a single waterway that is designated by the state as a scenic river, but a group of area people are seeking to change this.

The Symmes Creek Restoration Committee, along with Greater Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bill Dingus, are expected to ask the Lawrence County Commission today at approve a resolution asking state officials to put Symmes Creek on that list. Such a designation could make it easier to get grants and other funding to improve the creek.

SCRC President Grayson Thornton said while Symmes Creek is not called a river, it is comparable in size and function to many of the rivers on the state scenic river list.

At roughly 66 miles long (calculations of its length have varied over the years), Symmes Creek has a watershed of more than 400 square miles and cuts a sizeable swath from northern Lawrence County eastward to Chesapeake where it empties into the Ohio River.

The restoration committee sponsors a cleanup of the waterway each year. Thornton said he hopes the special designation would further enhance the status of a creek that has such tremendous potential.

“The whole thrust is to interest people in the creek as an asset for the county, for recreation and just as a general asset,” Thornton said.

If the commission approves the resolution, it will be presented to lawmakers in Columbus for hopeful inclusion in the state budget, Thornton said.

Thornton credited Dingus with much of the work to accomplish the task.