Feb
18
2016

Remember the mild days of... December? Those days are gone and early February has covered the Miami Valley Trails in a few inches of snow and single-digit temperatures. With true outdoors season still several weeks away, read on for a few warm bits of trail news. And remember: now is a GREAT time to get your bicycle tuned up for the season before the rush hits the bike shops in April!

Dayton to Host 2017 International Trails Symposium

Save the Date: May 7-10, 2017

American Trails will host the 23rd International Trails Symposium in Dayton, Ohio May 7-10, 2017 at the Dayton Convention Center.

American Trails sponsors a biennial conference for trail advocates, managers, builders, planners, and users— as well as tourism and business interests— to come together to communicate and experience an inspirational and educational conference. The Symposium, held in the Spring in odd years in different parts of the country, is a gathering of trail enthusiasts and professionals representing all types of trail users. The Symposium includes numerous educational sessions covering the broad range of trail issues; nationally prominent speakers; a state-of-the-art exhibit hall; informative and interactive mobile workshops; and much more. The Miami Valley will showcase not only the nation's largest paved trail network, but also water trails, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, and even ATV trails a short distance from Dayton. Remember, too: The Buckeye Trail, North Country Scenic Trail, and US Bike Route 50 all use the Miami Valley Trails through the region.

The world is coming to Dayton in 2017 to talk about trails and to see everything the Miami Valley has to offer, and the Miami Valley Trails will be one of the star attractions!

A regional coalition of advocates, spearheaded by Five Rivers MetroParks, developed and submitted the bid for the 2017 Symposium. In reality, some of the key staff behind this successful bid have been working on this effort since before the 2015 Symposium in Portland, Oregon. Greene County Parks & Trails, the Miami County Park District, the Dayton CVB, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, the Miami Conservancy District and the City of Dayton have participated as well. Letters of support were also provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Trail Detour Along Mad River Trail

The Mad River Trail under the Webster Street bridge is closed now that a project to replace the bridge is underway. The project is expected to last through the Summer of 2017. The construction project includes a posted 1.7 mile detour along Monument Avenue from Findlay Street to RiverScape MetroPark. There is a page dedicated to this detour, with a complete description and some photos. You can click on this image (right) for a larger version.

The page describes some of the detour's shortcomings: lack of sidewalks, heavy traffic, and some rough pavement. It is encouraging to know that the trail managing agencies are looking for alternative detours and potential funding to implement those ideas along this key connection in the Miami Valley Trails - so stay tuned!

Another Mad River Trail Detour - This one's easy though

The Mad River Trail is also closed where it passes under Harshman Road just east of Eastwood MetroPark. Thankfully, an easy detour option existed at this location and was thoughtfully implemented as a part of this project.  A full description of this detour is provided on the Miami Valley Bike Trails web site. Using the access road to the Dayton Well Fields, and crossing Harshman Road at the light for the entrance to Eastwood MetroPark, all trail users can safely and efficiently make their way around the bridge construction site. Push-button actuators for trail users were added along both sides of Harshman Road to allow trail users to call for a signal change to allow for safe crossing of Harshman. We have tested the push buttons and they both work.

Trail User Count for Little Miami Scenic Trail

An impressive, year-long effort to do a more complete count of trail users along the Little Miami Scenic Trail was undertaken by the Friends of the Little Miami State Park (FLMSP). FMLSP is the non-profit friends-of-the-trail group for the Little Miami Scenic Trail; they partner with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on routine (and not-so-routine) maintenance, trail monitoring and other tasks, to keep the Little Miami Scenic Trail in good condition for users. In 2015 they completed a full year of user counts using infrared counters that they moved from section to section, season to season to get as complete a count as possible. The report can be accessed on the FLMSP web site, but here are a few highlights:

  • The report estimates total uses at 910,000 visits for the year along the Little Miami Scenic Trail.
  • The most heavily used trail segments are in Milford, Loveland and South Lebanon.
  • The effect of the Peters Cartridge site cleanup (and closure of sections of trail) could be seen in the data.
  • 95% of trail users begin and end their trail experience at the same access point. This was factored into calculations and assumptions about potential double counting.

The wonderful volunteers of FLMSP will continue their counting program in 2016. Thank you so much for your dedication to the Miami Valley Trails!