Creative kayak carts come to Kelley


A pair of donated kayak carts wait at the visitors’ kiosk at Kelley Nature Preserve.

LOVELAND – One little chore just got a bit easier.

Visitors to Kelley Nature Preserve now have a pair of carts to assist kayak portage from the parking lot to the Little Miami River, a distance of about 100 hundred yards.

The carts appeared at the visitors’ kiosk just off the parking lot July 29. Deputy Meredith Walsh figured out who built and left them, but the donor wants to remain anonymous.

The donor made the carts from cut-in-half wheeled trash bins and swim noodles.

“What a great way to recycle some plastic that was otherwise headed for a landfill,” said Mark Motz, community relations manager. “That’s a perfect gift for a place dedicated to preserving Clermont County’s natural resources.

“We are incredibly lucky and grateful to have guests who want to help us make their Park District experience the best it can be. Little touches like that, creative gifts that will enhance somebody else’s visit, are the definition of building community.

“To our anonymous friend, thank you not just for sharing the actual carts, but for recognizing a need and giving of your time and talent to fill it. That kind of generosity is inspiring.”

A video of the carts posted on the Park District Facebook page drew the attention of the Marion County Park District north of Columbus. They asked for cart plans to build some for their guests.

The donor told Deputy Walsh he had been using the river access point for years and appreciated all the changes in the area. He thought adding kayak carts would complement the ongoing improvements to the preserve.

Kelley recently became a busy put-in spot to paddle the Little Miami. In fact, 651 boats launched from there in May; 711 more put in during June.

“We are happy at what a popular spot Kelley has become for paddlers,” Motz said. “I think we were all surprised at the numbers, but we are happy people are using the facility.

“We’re that much happier so many people will have an easier time getting from their cars to the water thanks to this gift.”

Next up, the Park District will install three kayak racks the week of Aug. 6 for guests to lock their boats when they run down river to leave a vehicle at their take-out point.