Rivergoers will see new signs marking the mile and county up and down the Ohio River as part of an effort to preserve the region’s history and natural areas.
Leaders from the Boone County Ohio River Initiative and the Ohio River Way cut the ribbon Monday on the new sign at Boone’s Landing against a backdrop of fishers enjoying the waters just off the public boat ramp.
Before cutting the ribbon, the river initiative and Boone County leaders welcomed paddlers from the Ohio River Way, a group paddling the Ohio River from Portsmouth, located in south-central Ohio, all the way to Louisville. They are traversing the river to add signs along the way for other paddlers, but also to promote conservation, increase river tourism, and advocate for federal funding to protect the Ohio River.
“Just this past year in the infrastructure bill, the Great Lakes got $1.2 billion. The Everglades got $800 million, the Hudson River got $600 million … And that’s just one year.” said David Wicks of the Ohio River Way. “So 20 years of investment like that and the Great Lakes. And guess what? The Ohio River Basin got zero.”
Hillary Delaney, a local history history associate at the Boone County Public Library, said the area deserves to be marked not just for its natural beauty, but for its historical contributions. Delaney said Boone County’s Big Bone Lick State Park is considered the birthplace of paleontology; he also talked about the area’s connections to Native Americans, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and The Underground Railroad.
Wicks said tapping elected leaders to follow through with funding for the Ohio River Basin is a good place to start. State Sen. John Schickel (R-Union) was present for the ribbon cutting.
Christy Noll, of the Boone County Ohio River Initiative, said the group seeks to promote recreational use, access, and conservation of the Ohio River in Boone County.
“The plan is to create paths and trails to businesses from these docks,” Noll said, adding that the effort will create a positive ripple effect for the local economy.
She added that doing that will provide benefits to Boone County’s river communities and increase use of Boone’s Landing. Parks Director David Whitehouse said the dock sees as many as 50 boats on any given weekend, and an ongoing bass fishing tournament means the ramp is busy Thursday nights, too.
Boone County’s Parks Department is coordinating with the National Parks Service for a county-wide report on what residents want to see, which will influence the future services Boone’s Landing and other parks will offer.
Judge/Executive Gary Moore said the effort marks a successful partnership among public and private sectors that ultimately works to benefit residents and guests of Boone County. He read a proclamation declaring June 6, 2022, Ohio River Day in Boone County.
“Partnerships is what it’s about here in Boone County, and that’s how we get so much done, whether it’s partnerships with other counties or cities, state legislature and others,” Moore said. “I get the folks from time to time that ask, ‘Are we going to pave all of Boone County? Are we doing anything to preserve our rich history and our natural areas and the environment?’ And that is what’s happening here today.”