The guide provides information and an overview map for 11 different access points along the trail on the Ohio and Little Kanawha Rivers. Round trip mileage, average paddle time and suggested trips from each access point. GPS coordinates are also provided for accurate put-in and take-out locations.
“The new guide will help expand awareness of the water trail and the many other paddling opportunities in the region,” said Mark Lewis, Greater Parkersburg CVB president. “The trail provides 57 miles of scenic recreational paddling and is poised to attract visitors from around the state and around the nation.”
A "water trail", sometimes called a "blueway," is a stretch of water along a river or shoreline that has been mapped out with the intent of creating an educational, scenic, and enjoyable experience for recreational canoers and kayakers; it includes marked access points, resting areas, and points of interest for trail users.
Through coordinated efforts with local co-sponsors the Wood County Alternative Transportation Council (WCATC) created the Ohio River Water Trail and worked with the West Virginia Recreational Trails Advisory Board to achieve “Water Trail” status in 2016.
WCATC was founded by the Wood County Commission in 2013 and was tasked with developing and managing the Ohio River Water Trail in partnership with the Greater Parkersburg Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The Water Trail includes the section of the Ohio River that borders Wood County. Cities along the Water Trail include: Marietta, Ohio, Williamstown, W.Va. (a trail co-sponsor); Vienna, W.Va. (a trail co-sponsor); and Parkersburg, W.Va. (a trail co-sponsor); and Belpre, Ohio. It is crossed by Interstate 77 and US Route 50.
Lewis noted there are multiple public trailer-ready boat ramps with ample parking along the water trail. Half the trail access sites have ADA compliant parking, restrooms, and compliant access to the water.
The trail is also accessible from three bike paths, in Marietta and Belpre, Ohio, and Parkersburg, W.Va. Four miles of the Little Kanawha River run alongside North Bend Rails to Trails State Park.
Although roads and railroads follow the river, they are generally not visible from the river below. Trees along the river bank often block out views of homes, farm fields, and industrial sites. Paddlers along the Ohio River can feel a sense of remoteness and natural beauty.
“The Ohio River offers abundant wildlife to enjoy and the Water Trail is between two major bird migration routes, which results in high species diversity along the river. Nearly 200 species of birds visit the Ohio River each year, including osprey and bald eagles,” said Lewis.
For a copy of the new trail guide, visit the Greater Parkersburg CVB office at 350 7th Street, Parkersburg, WV or log on to: www.greaterparkersburg.com/ohio-river-watertrail/
The guide was designed by Nighthawk Advertising Solutions and printed by Livestock Direct.