A year ago in February, Ohio was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the passage of the nation’s first Scenic River law whose goal was to protect the most wild and scenic rivers in the state. A list of criteria was developed to make sure the rivers had outstanding water quality, contiguous riparian forest buffer or filter strips, limited human intrusions and high biological diversity as well as strong local support.
The first river to meet all these requirements was the Little Miami River that did so in 1969. So the members of the Little Miami Watershed Network are celebrating again. One of our goals is to give 50 talks to groups in the watershed about this wonderful asset that runs through five counties and drains more than 1,700 square miles.
The effort to preserve Ohio’s best rivers though the Scenic River Act and the Little Miami River was lead by Dayton’s own Glenn Thompson, the editor of the former Dayton Journal-Herald.
Read how he described the Little Miami River in 1968. His words still ring true 50 years later.
“There is no more beautiful a piece of America’s natural environment than the valley of the Little Miami.
Start in Clark County where the river rises and flows though fine rolling farm country to the Greene County Line. Then suddenly it plunges over the Cedarville Dolomite into beautiful Clifton Gorge.
After John Bryan State Park it flows among the willows and its low hills though some of the most historic country in the Middle West. Tecumseh was born in an Indian camp near its banks in 1768. At Oldtown was the Shawnee city of Old Chillicothe containing thousands of Indians at times and possibly the largest Indian village in our country.
At the narrows above Bellbrook she flows at times in deep cuts made by the Wisconsin Glacier when the stream flowed, not south, but north.
Below Spring Valley she has peace and quiet for a while then plunges through the Fort Ancient Narrows, cut when the Wisconsin Glacier blocked drainage westward and turned loose a torrent of melting ice and boulders.
Here she passes Fort Ancient, which was constructed by prehistoric Hopewell Indians before 300B.C.
From Morrow she turns westward to South Lebanon in the bed of prehistoric Lebanon Creek, which flowed into what is now the Great Miami 17,000 years ago.
When the glacier dammed it, the waters of the Miami cut the Kings Mills narrows, another beautiful section.
Up and down the valley some of the great figures of the frontier moved. At Old Chillicothe, Daniel Boone was brought as a captive and here he escaped. Here Simon Kenton ran the gauntlet in one of the incredible 8 times he survived.
As rivers go, it is very much the way today it was when Boone and Kenton drank from it, but its fate is now at stake.”
Its fate is in your hands. You can leave a positive legacy for your children and grandchildren so 50 years from now, they will be celebrating this beautiful river and the positive attributes it brings to Greene County.
There are more than 50 organizations that work to protect this river and its watershed. Join one of them to make sure the Little Miami River stays fishable, swimmable and drinkable.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your speaking engagement.
Hope Taft is co-founder of the Little Miami Watershed Network. The organization can be reached at email@example.com.