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Published: Thursday, May 11, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
— Whether it’s a peaceful, relaxing journey or an adrenaline-inducing adventure, the Dayton area offers paddlers a variety of experiences.
The recently-completed RiverScape River Run offers both with the addition of two passageways – one a smooth-water channel for novice paddlers and, the other, a whitewater play feature for more experienced paddlers. All of this in the middle of downtown Dayton.
“The lowdam area, near the Dayton Art Institute, has now been made safer and people can paddle much longer distances,” said Erik Dahlstrom, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator. “And some people want to step up and go through bigger waves and get some whitewater practice and they can do that here, too.”
While the project enhances the dynamic downtown scene, the benefits of the River Run project extend beyond the metro Dayton area and include improving water quality and aquatic habitat and strengthening the area’s reputation as the Outdoor Adventure Capitol of the Midwest. The area was already home to Mad River Run at Eastwood MetroPark and the ECO Sports Corridor in Springfield.
“I run into people at our whitewater features who come here from all around the state,” Dahlstrom said.
So, what is the impact of recreation amenities like River Run and what does it offer paddlers? Local experts weigh in.
Erik Dahlstrom, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator
First, the river is safer because of removing the hazardous hydraulic from the low head dam in downtown Dayton and creating passage through the low dam.
I have already seen an anecdotal impact on Facebook and meetup sites with lots of chatter about the whitewater features, including private paddlers coming here from outside the region to play in the features, local paddlers getting out regularly, as well as an increase from colleges and universities, clubs, etc. coming here to do classes in the whitewater features on river running and river rescue. This means more people coming to the region to paddle and these are people who are going to look for places to eat, places to buy paddling equipment, places to camp, etc. I believe strongly that these features will bring more people downtown and bring even more people back to the river that has been hidden for so long. It’s really amazing to see how many people come to Eastwood MetroPark just to watch the water at the Mad River whitewater feature, and I believe we will see the same at RiverScape MetroPark.
As a paddler, these whitewater features create an opportunity to hone my skills and learn new skills locally without having to drive three or more hours to get my whitewater fix. I also really enjoy paddling outside of the region on a variety of rivers, so having these amenities in my hometown allow me to be in better shape.
Ken Tudor, Ohio Paddlers
I do not claim to be an expert paddler, but I’m definitely an avid paddler. From my observations, the replacement of dams that no longer serve a purpose with recreational river features that encourage the use of our valuable waterways is a great success.
Nowadays, most outdoor enthusiasts get their information about recreation opportunities from social media. The Ohio Paddlers Facebook page and website (www.ohiopaddlers.com) have been inundated with posts and videos about these features for several months.
People are driving from all over the tri-state to have an opportunity to enjoy these features. There are very few locations in the region where paddlers can find this class of wave to practice this sport. I just recently scheduled an all-day outing with our group, traveling through all three features, and everyone had a great time. It’s wonderful that they replaced dangerous low head dams with safe and fun river opportunities.
>> MORE RECREATION: The 5 best Dayton bike trails and how to make the most of them
Jeryl Yantis and Bernie Farley, Whitewater Warehouse
Whitewater playparks generate excitement and growth within their communities. Rivers naturally attract people to them and the Eastwood Park and River Run water features are no different. These new features make the river that much more exciting. Besides, who wouldn’t want to be on the river on a hot summer day?
Whitewater boaters are thrilled to have features that they can play in and practice their tricks. Recreational boaters can step up their game and paddle on more exciting waters while those who enjoy calmer water can still paddle and use the easier pass-thru feature where you can avoid the rapids. Other people will come to the features simply to enjoy nature, watch the boaters, sit and read a book, or hang out with friends. It’s the perfect place to just be.
As a business, we are fortunate to have both the Mad River and Great Miami River directly in our backyard. For us, the Eastwood Park and River Run water features offer tremendous opportunities to further grow our business as well as give us a great platform for teaching and growing the sports of kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. The new features will be good for business and good for the community. We look forward to seeing kayaking grow to its full potential, right here in Dayton, Ohio.
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RiverScape River Run at a Glance
Feature 1 access: River Left
Feature 2 access: Provides access to both sides of the river
Visitors using RiverScape River Run can park in one of the available public parking spaces downtown. Metered parking is free on weekdays after 6 p.m. and all day on weekends, including under the I-75 bridge on river left, which provides access.
>> PHOTOS: RiverScape River Run aerial view
Published: Saturday, January 13, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
— Snowy pathways and plummeting temperatures are no deterrent for hiker Eddie Kronenberger.
“I walked to work this morning and had ice form on my eyelids,” he said. “I love hiking during the winter, more so than the summer. Why, you may ask? Well, during the winter I can always put more layers on but, during the warm months, I can never take enough off.”
The Riverside man is not alone, as bitterly cold temperatures haven’t kept hikers off the trails, kids off the sledding hills or families away from the RiverScape outdoor ice rink in recent weeks.
“There’s no season to stay indoors,” said Angie Sheldon, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator. “Winter offers a whole different view of our parks.”
But while barren branches and a fresh blanket of snow can create a stunning winter landscape, freezing temperatures also mean a bit more planning is needed before venturing out if you want to stay safe and snuggly warm.
“The biggest thing is being prepared for the weather,” Sheldon said. “We always say dress like an onion – if you dress in layers, you can take them off if you get too warm.”
Sheldon suggests the 3 Ws – wicking, warm and weather – when it comes to layers. The wicking layer is often a synthetic material worn closest to the body. The warm layer is for insulation – think fleece or down. And, finally, the outermost weatherproof layer.
“Your body can really warm up fast, depending on what you’re doing, and you don’t want to get overheated so, this way, you can take layers off if you’re sweating,” Sheldon said.
While multiple layers are advisable, too many can be problematic, especially when it comes to footwear.
“Sometimes people have too many pairs of socks on and that can actually restrict circulation,” Sheldon said.
So, make sure you can wiggle your toes after you lace up your boots.
While sunscreen and water seem almost automatic in the summer, they are also necessary in the winter.
“Drinking lots of water will help you stay hydrated and keep the blood flowing,” Sheldon said. “And, especially with the reflective nature of snow, sunscreen and sunglasses are also important.”
Being aware of your body is critical, especially any numbness or tingling. Those are signs that you should get inside and warm up. Parents also need to closely monitor their excited little outdoor enthusiasts.
“Kids can be having too much fun to notice that they need a break or should come inside,” Sheldon said.
MEMBERS OF THE DAYTON HIKERS SHARE THEIR WINTER OUTDOOR TIPS
BUNDLE UP AND GO – FROZEN GORGE HIKE
What: Snow piled on tree branches, frozen waterfalls and crackling snow underfoot will be sought during a free Greene County Parks & Trails naturalist-led hike
When: Saturday, Jan. 13, 1 p.m.
Where: Indian Mound Reserve, Cedar Cliff Falls parking lot, 2575 U.S. 42 East, Cedarville
Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 12:00 AM
— An afternoon of family fun, a romantic evening under the stars or a night of friendly competition — check, check and check at the MetroParks Ice Rink at RiverScape.
A full slate of activities are on tap at the region’s largest outdoor ice skating rink, located on the banks of the Great Miami River in the heart of downtown Dayton.
“Open skating attracts a lot of people, but we offer much more than that,” said RiverScape manager Meredith Adamisin.
From skating lessons for the entire family to a competitive co-ed curling league, there are a variety of on-ice activities for winter sports enthusiasts of all ages and ability levels.
“I see couples, kids, people of all ages here,” Adamisin said. “That’s the magical part of being on the ice. It’s a beautiful place where you can see families and friends come together.”
Open skating hours are available throughout the week and the rink also hosts several holiday events and theme nights like a Christmas Eve Skate and Michael Jackson Skate.
For $5 – an additional $2 for skate rental – skaters can glide across the rink all night. Family passes are available for $90, which covers season-long admission, skate rental and a 25-percent discount at the café for up to five people. Individual passes are available for $30.
Parker the Penguin even makes an occasional appearance to liven the spirits of skaters young and old.
Don’t know how to skate? Not a problem. Lessons are available at the MetroParks Ice Rink for children 3 and older and adults of all ages.
“It’s a skill progression program so it’s not just a single lesson, each week builds on the last,” Adamisin said. “And you receive free passes so you can come back and practice on your own.”
Want to try your hand at an Olympic sport, then you might want to give curling a try. Curl Troy hosts a co-ed league at the downtown ice rink. Curling is accessible to all physical skill levels and no experience or, even, skates, are required.
Visit www.curltroy.org to learn more about local curling events.
A team sport played in ice arenas and community parks, broomball is similar to hockey in its play and rules, although there isn’t a puck or skates in sight. Serious players wear spongy-soled broomball shoes, but athletic shoes and, even, boots can also be worn.
Sound intriguing? The Dayton Broomball Association runs a co-ed league at RiverScape. Check out the Dayton Broomball Association Facebook page for more information.
UPCOMING METROPARKS ICE SKATING EVENTS
(Unless otherwise indicated, events are for all ages and weather dependent)
Christmas Eve Skate: Dec. 24, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
What: Start a holiday tradition by skating with your friends and family at MetroParks Ice Rink and warm up by the outdoor fireplaces with some steamy hot chocolate.
Christmas Day Skate: Dec. 25, 1-8 p.m.
What: Have an old-fashioned family holiday and skate on Christmas Day. Enjoy the festive atmosphere as you sip hot chocolate by the outdoor fireplaces.
New Year’s Eve Skate: Dec. 31, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
What: Looking for something fun to do before the ball drops? Start your New Year’s Eve party at the MetroParks Ice Rink.
New Year’s Day Skate: Jan. 1, 1-8 p.m.
What: Start the New Year right and be the first to skate in 2018.
Top 40 Hits Skate: Jan. 12, 7-10 p.m.
What: Come to MetroParks Ice Rink and skate as an onsite DJ plays Top 40 hits.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Skate: Jan. 15, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
What: Celebrate the holiday at the MetroParks Ice Rink.
Michael Jackson Skate: Jan. 19, 7-10 p.m.
What: Moonwalk across the ice as a DJ plays Michael Jackson’s biggest hits.
Frozen on Ice: Jan. 26, 7-10 p.m.
What: Bring the family out for a magical evening of ice skating. Glide the night away as the DJ plays your favorite Disney songs.
Skating Lessons: January 7, 14, and 21, 11-11:30 a.m. (arrive 15 minutes early)
* Learn to Skate Children’s Course (Ages 3- 5)
What: This three-week session will cover how to get on and off the ice, how to fall safely and get up on your own.
Cost: $50, includes use of skates and lessons and two free skating admissions
* Learn to Skate Youth/Teen Course (Ages 6-17)
What: Students will learn how to fall and get up as well as get safely across the ice, and skate forward and backward.
Cost: $50, includes use of skates and lessons and two free skating admissions
* Learn to Skate Adult Course (Ages 18 and up)
What: Skills include skating forward and backward edges on a circle, three-turns, backward stops, bunny hop, lunges, and front and back crossovers.
Cost: $50, includes use of skates and lessons and two free skating admissions
*Outdoor Broomball League: Begins Jan. 8, 6-8 p.m.
What: Sign up for the Dayton Broomball Association’s co-ed league. Visit https://www.metroparks.org/ice-rink/ to learn more. The Dayton Broomball Association will take the first 18 teams.
Ages: 18 and up
*Curling League: Begins Jan. 9, 6-9 p.m.
What: Play an Olympic sport this winter and sign up with friends for Curl Troy’s recreational co-ed league at the MetroParks Ice Rink. Visit www.curltroy.org/ to learn more. Curl Troy will accept the first 12 teams; four players per team.
Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
— Hiking, biking, paddling – local outdoor enthusiasts can do it all right here in the “Outdoor Capital of the Midwest.”
With a 300-plus mile paved recreation trail network to explore and six high-quality waterways, offering 400 miles of paddling opportunities, the Dayton area has countless outdoor recreation opportunities for enthusiasts of all ages. Not to mention, numerous local and state parks and portions of the 1,400-mile Buckeye Trail all within a short walk or ride.
The outdoor recreation industry is a significant force in the overall U.S. economy, with consumers spending $887 billion annually on outdoor recreation according to Outdoor Industry Association. Cycling, hiking and water sports as well as camping, fishing, hunting, off-roading and wildlife viewing support more than 7.6 million jobs.
But if someone you love, loves the great outdoors, Christmas shopping might be a bit more challenging than a quick trip to the mall. But if the saying is true that “it’s the thought that counts,” then one of the most thoughtful gifts would be one that encourages their passion. Even better – you can share the adventure with them.
“The best gift we can give is quality time with family and friends – like spending the day together in your favorite MetroPark,” said Angie Sheldon, MetroParks recreation coordinator.
Local experts from Five Rivers MetroParks compiled some gift ideas for the adventure lovers on your holiday shopping list.
Gifts for the Outdoor Enthusiasts on Santa’s “Nice” List
• Quality pocket knife
• Insulated bottle that keeps beverages warm in the winter and cool in the summer
• Outdoor throw blanket for a picnic or an extra layer for sleeping
• Durable, waterproof watch
• Waterproof notebook
• Gift cards to a local outdoor retailer, bike shop or the MetroParks Ice Rink
• Kayak and/or paddles
• Bilge pump
• Whitewater helmet
• River rescue knife
• Throw rope
• Light-weight bike pump
• Stainless water bottle cage
• First aid kit
• Digital tire gauge
• Trail guide for the person who wants to travel
• Water filter
• Sleeping pad
• Trekking poles
• Solar camping light
• Toiletries bag
• Dry bag
• Camping French press
• Solar panel that can be affixed to your pack to charge devices
• Folding table for camping
• Seeds – many seed companies offer end-of-year digital promotions for seeds, in addition to gift certificates.
• Kneeling tools
• Gardening gloves
• Tool belts and buckets
• Clay pots
• Expandable hoses
• Shovels, trowels, garden knives and pruners
• Gift certificate to local gardening center or professional landscaping services, mulch, top soil or spring clean-up.
• Gardening classes – Five Rivers MetroParks hosts a variety of gardening classes
• Small greenhouse
• Cold frames
• Raised beds
• Durable wallet and belt
• Wool socks
• Fitness gadgets or pedometers
• Identification bracelet
• Nose plugs, for paddling
• Battery recharger for your phone
• Head lamps for the entire family
GIFT OF TOGETHERNESS
• Take a winter hike on the trails in Englewood MetroPark to view the frozen waterfalls
• Snow day sledding in Germantown, Englewood or Taylorsville MetroParks
• Family skating day at the MetroParks Ice Rink
• A family outing to a gardening conservatory for some garden inspiration
Published: Thursday, November 02, 2017 @ 12:00 AM
A family feast complete with turkey and all the fixings … a leisurely afternoon watching football … a five-mile morning run through the streets of Miamisburg – Thanksgiving traditions vary greatly.
The Turkey Trot – which includes both a five-mile run and a one-mile fun walk/run – is one tradition that has been a Miami Valley mainstay for close to four decades.
“It’s truly a family event,” race director Gina Helmick said. “And it’s a Thanksgiving tradition for many families.”
Helmick, who ran in her first Turkey Trot 14 years ago, has seen grandparents running side-by-side with their children and grandchildren over the years.
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“We have 80- and 90-year-olds completing the race,” Helmick said. “You can walk, as well as run, or do the one-mile event.”
More than 9,000 people participated last year in what has become the Ohio River Road Runners Club’s biggest event of the year. And a five-mile run through Miamisburg might be just the thing to help rationalize that extra scoop of mashed potatoes or slice of pumpkin pie.
“You definitely feel better about what you eat,” Helmick said with a smile.
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A little extra calorie burn can’t hurt as, according to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American can consume 3,000 calories during a typical holiday dinner. Factor in appetizers, drinks and snacking and it might mean a 4,500-calorie day –more than twice the average daily calorie intake and almost 3 ½ times the fat.
And if a run isn’t your idea of fun, there are plenty of other choices as Thanksgiving weekend is packed with fun fitness options from bowling to hikes to ice skating. Here are just a few:
39TH ANNUAL TURKEY TROT
What: 5-mile run and 1-mile fun walk/run.
When: Nov. 23, race begins at 8:30 a.m.
Where: Downtown Miamisburg
THANKSGIVING DAY SHOOTOUT
What: 9-Pin No-Tap Tournament
When: Nov. 23, 9 a.m.
Where: Poelking Lanes, 1403 Wilmington Ave., Kettering
THURSDAY HIKE AT ENGLEWOOD METROPARK
What: Get in shape with a 6-, 8-, or 10-mile hike. The full 10-mile hike will take approximately 3 hours.
When: Nov. 23, 9 a.m.
Where: Englewood MetroPark, 4361 W. National Road, Patty Shelter
ICE RINK OPENING WEEKEND
What: Skip the mall on Black Friday and lace up your skates at the MetroParks Ice Rink opening day. Weather dependent.
When: Nov. 24, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Where: RiverScape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton