By Ed Runyan
The 23-mile portion of the Mahoning River Water Trail from Newton Township to Packard Park in Warren will be a new destination for canoeists this summer.
In the works are the installation of mileage markers, creation of a map/brochure, obstruction removal and its new designation as a state water trail.
Zachary Svette, project coordinator for the Trumbull County MetroParks Board, announced Monday the MetroParks has received a $16,300 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Watercraft.
The MetroParks Board will begin right away using the money to have mileage signs made and brochures printed so that they will be in place this summer. A workday is planned for June 23 to remove tree obstructions in two locations and install the signs, Svette said.
The brochures will be available at the seven parks along the river trail — Foster Park in Newton Township, Rotary Park in Newton Falls, Braceville Nature Preserve near Paul Tessler golf course, Thomas A. Swift MetroPark in Braceville Township, Canoe City in Leavitts- burg, Burbank Park in Warren and Packard Park in Warren.
The free maps will show the public access points along the river and provide safety information.
The Mahoning River trail joins other designated water trails on portions of the Great Miami River, Kokosing, Muskingum, Vermilion and Black rivers, and on Lake Erie’s East Sandusky Bay.
The water-trail designation will make it easier to receive grants in the future and means the Mahoning River water trail will be listed on ODNR websites, Svette said.
The designation is the culmination of 30 years’ worth of work by the Trumbull County Planning Commission, a department under the county commissioners, Svette said.
The Mahoning River is now “much, much cleaner” than it was 30 years ago, thanks to installation of sewers and stricter standards for septic systems across the county, Svette said.
The trail, which extends from Foster Park to Packard Park, will still have two areas where canoes will need to be removed from the river and carried a short distance — at the Newton Falls Dam by the covered bridge and the dam near Canoe City.
“With it flowing by forested groves, fields of corn and wheat, suburban streets and beautiful wetland complexes, this trail is full of natural beauty as well as history,” Svette said.
The river also offers diverse paddling, fishing, wildlife watching and other recreational opportunities, he added.
Trumbull County MetroParks is made up of 1,237 acres of parks and nature preserves.
Its mission is to conserve, manage, protect and promote Trumbull County’s natural resources.