FINDLAY, Ohio – Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz designated the Blanchard River Water Trail as Ohio’s 14th state water trail in a virtual ceremony on June 19, 2020, in Findlay, Ohio.
“The Blanchard River Water Trail offers a quiet paddling experience through a beautiful green corridor in Hancock County,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “ODNR is proud to partner with the Hancock Park District to enhance the recreational opportunities in the area.”
Hancock Park District worked with several local municipalities and communities to obtain the water trail designation. The Blanchard River Water Trail provides 11 public access points from which paddlers can get out and explore Hancock County’s rural areas or enjoy views of the city of Findlay.
“Promoting an increase in canoe and kayak traffic downstream from Blanchard River Nature Preserve to Blanchard Landing will boost the Blanchard River’s reputation as an outdoor recreation resource and magnet for nature lovers and outdoor recreation enthusiasts, thus drawing visitation locally and from throughout the region,” said Gary Pruitt, Hancock Park District Director. “The designation of the Blanchard River as a state water trail is an important step in that direction.”
Mertz and Pruitt took time after the virtual dedication event to explore a portion of the 37.6-mile water trail, launching their kayaks from Zonta Landing at Riverside Waterfront Park.
A water trail is a stretch of waterway that has been identified as a recreational resource with maps, signage, and informational resources that show official access points, amenities, and safety information. Water trails promote public use of waterways and create educational, recreational, and environmentally rewarding opportunities for paddlers and others. These trails support tourism and encourage conservation and stewardship.
Ohio’s diverse system of water trails is statewide and includes the Cuyahoga, Great Miami, Kokosing, Mahoning, Maumee, Muskingum and Olentangy rivers. These water trails pass through a variety of surroundings including natural, rural, suburban, and urban areas.
To view a video of the Blanchard River Water Trail virtual ceremony, visit hancockparks.com/virtual-experiences-toolkit/.
ODNR recommends that visitors check weather conditions before getting on the water and always wear a life jacket.