Waterways getting a workout

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MIAMI TWP. – The new boat launch at Kelley Nature Preserve got a workout recently.

Miami Township Fire and Emergency Medical Services dropped the inflatable rescue boat from its technical rescue truck into the Little Miami River June 9.

While the rescue itself was called off – nobody on the river was in danger – seeing the technical truck in action at the preserve was a good sign.

The launch opened earlier this spring with the intention of making the Little Miami safer for water sports enthusiasts.

According to its website, Miami Township Fire and EMS has extensive training and response ability for technical rescue situations. The department has the capability to provide expertise in Rope Rescue, Swift Water Rescue, Ice Rescue and Lost Person Search.

“Multiple personnel are trained to the Technician (the highest) level in all four disciplines. All fire department personnel are trained to at least the Awareness level for technical rescue situations.”

Funding for the new launch point came from a State Capital Improvement Grant. The Clermont Park District partnered with Miami Township Fire and EMS department to build it.

In addition to the safety aspect, the new launch marks a major improvement for canoe and kayak users who have made Kelley Nature Preserve one of the busiest access points to the Little Miami in Clermont County.

The Park District has several other river access points in its system, both on the Little Miami and on the Ohio.

At Chilo Lock 34 Park, the Park District maintenance team – in one annual sign of summer approaching – installed the floating docks at the end of the ramp into the Ohio River. (Heavy rainfall and rising water earlier in the month pushed the dock placement to the end of May.)

Canoers and kayakers can get on the East Fork of the Little Miami from Sycamore Park in Batavia. As plans to revamp the oldest park in the system continue this year and next – there are already new picnic shelters and restrooms in place – look for access to the water to improve as well.

One of the best-kept secrets for access is behind the Park District maintenance building – Roadside Park – on Ohio 222 across from the Sheriff’s Department.

Park District Naturalist Robin Green described a late-May outing that ended there.

“When the river is high enough, both Sycamore and Roadside Parks make great take out spots for your kayaks or canoes,” she said. “We put in at the tail waters of East Fork Lake and got out at Roadside Park.

“Along the way we floated right below a great blue heron rookery, through Wilson Nature Preserve and some enchanting fog, past Sycamore Park and under a bridge. There were at least 20 herons at the rookery.”

Waterways have been – and remain – open to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Park District is pleased to serve the residents of and visitors to Clermont County and offer opportunities to connect with and enjoy the area’s natural resources.