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Are you thinking about new running or walking shoes? When was your bike's last tune-up? It's spring, finally, and the Miami Valley Trails are ready to host thousands of visitors each day. Whether you come for exercise, relaxation, or commuting (or all three!) the nation's largest network of paved, off-street trails has something to offer you. This is the Spring 2014 edition of Trail Talk, Miami Valley Bike Trails' quarterly news letter. Read on for more information about the recently published Miami Valley Bikeways Maps, the Robert Shook Bridge, the Simon Kenton Trail, big news about Ohio State Parks (and how you can help the Little Miami Trail!), bike month events and our "Bike Your Age" challenge!
May is National Bike Month and many prganizations across the Miami Valley are holding special events to celebrate.
May 7 - National Bike to School Day
May 8 - The Basics of Bicycle Touring at Wegerzyn
May 9 - Urban Bikes @ Urban Nights
May 10 - Kids' Bike Rodeo at Wegerzyn
Saturdays in May (10, 17, 24, 31) - Bike to the Market
Saturdays in May (10, 17, 24, 31) - Bike for the Health of It (start location varies)
May 12 through 16 - Piqua's Bike to Work Week!
May 16 - Kettering Bike To Work Day
May 17 - Greene County Parks & Trails Sentinels' Night Ride from Xenia Station
May 17 - Women's Cycling Fundamentals at RiverScape
May 31 - The Annual River Ride in Miamisburg and Franklin
Due to the extreme winter of 2013-14 several delays have set back the construction of the Urbana-Bellefontaine Connector of the Simon Kenton Trail. The newest addition to the Simon Kenton Trail will add approximately 16 miles that will connect Champaign and Logan Counties to the City of Bellefontaine. This section will be constructed with crushed limestone initially, but will be designed for asphalt paving in the future. The original plan was to connect to the City of Ballefontaine's Southview Park, but due to difficulties in gaining access over private land to get to the park this plan had to be changed. The trail will now continue north into the City limits of Bellefontaine with a parking facility at Carter Avenue.
The engineering plans are awaiting the approval of Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the railroad company. Once these are obtained the project will be put out to bid. It is the Pathfinders' hope to have the new section completed by their annual fall ride on September 7, 2014.
The Simon Kenton Pathfinders' fund raising efforts continue, and they are just short of their goal but getting close. Donations may be made payable to the Simon Kenton Pathfinders and mailed to Simon Kenton Pathfinders, P. O. Box 91, Urbana, OH 43078.
Robert Shook Bridge Update
The Great Miami River Recreational Trail moves closer to completion in Miami County as construction on the Robert J. Shook Bikeway Bridge continues. With the bridge abutments now complete, crews from RB Jergens Contractors, Inc. will be placing two beam lines extending 288 feet in length atop the foundation. Once the beams are set, forms will be erected and the concrete riding surface will be poured. This process will take approximately 30 days to complete.
The Bridge is estimated to open in August 2014 and when finished, will connect Troy and Piqua completing the Great Miami River Recreational Trail in Miami County. The bridge is named after Shook, a long-time bike trail advocate and chairman of the Miami County Trails Task Force.
The Great Miami River Recreational Trail is part of the Nation’s largest network of paved, off-street trails. For updates and pictures of the bridge’s progress, check the Miami County Park District website at www.miamicountyparks.com.
The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) is pleased to announce the release of the Miami Valley Ohio Bikeways Guide Map – 2014 Edition. This fourth edition of this very popular map will be available from parks agencies, some local governments, and various local bike shops in mid-April. Distribution sites are listed on the attached poster.
“The 2014 map provides the most up-to-date information on the Miami Valley Trails, the nation’s largest network of paved, off-street trails. Over 95,000 copies of the map were printed this time. That’s the largest print run of the four editions,” stated Brian O. Martin, MVRPC’s Executive Director. “It’s a testament to its popularity. Our local partners, who distribute and help pay for the map, wanted more copies printed.”
New trails in this edition include the Dayton-Kettering Connector (Trail #19) and the extension of the Simon Kenton Trail (Trail #3) from Urbana to Bellefontaine. As compared to the 2011 edition, the Great Miami Trail (Trail #25) in Miami County is now shown as a continuous route from Tipp City to Piqua. The map also details the detour routes in Downtown Dayton due to the years’ long project to reconstruct and modernize I-75. Buckeye Trail and North Country Scenic Trail routes are now shown and our popular mileage matrix includes more cities and towns to help trip or training planning.
The 2014 map has an exciting new feature. The new map highlights thirty-one (31) attractions found along the trails to give residents and visitors alike a better sense of what can be found along these beautiful greenways. Trail users will notice museums, parks, historic sites, outdoor sports venues, as well as eight (8) National Aviation Heritage sites right along the trails.
“We are extremely grateful to our sponsors for helping offset the cost to print these maps. These sponsorships provide critical funding enabling the park districts, bike shops and local governments to provide the maps FREE-OF-CHARGE,” explained Martin. Sponsors include “Presenting Sponsor” Cox Media Group (Ohio) and returning “Bronze Level Sponsor” Children’s Medical Center. New sponsors for the 2014 edition include: “Gold Level Sponsor” Dayton Power & Light and “Bronze Level Sponsors” Bike Miami Valley, the Dayton Cycling Club, Great Miami Outfitters, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Safe Kids Greater Dayton.
Bike Map Blooper: There is a typo in the mileage matrix on the new map. The column label "Milford" should say "Middletown." The corrected matrix is published on Miami Valley Bike Trails, CLICK HERE.
[From an Ohio Department of Natural Resources Press Release]
COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director James Zehringer and Ohio Senate President Keith Faber today announced in western Ohio that the state will invest more than $88.5 million in capital improvements at Ohio State Parks over the next two years. “This unprecedented investment will allow our facilities to match the impressive natural beauty that defines Ohio State Parks,” said Zehringer. “Governor Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly have shown their unequivocal support for strengthening our infrastructure and modernizing our facilities. Ultimately, this money belongs to the taxpayers, and we’re going to make sure Ohioans have a voice as we improve our parks.”
“Our priorities in the legislature are strengthening Ohio’s economy and growing jobs. An important part of attracting and retaining jobs is making sure our communities are places where people want to live, work and raise their family,” said Faber. “Our strong fiscal management has given us the ability to help our communities maintain their infrastructure and invest in important community projects that are focused on quality of life and economic development to grow our economy.”
These funds are not meant to expand Ohio State Parks, but to serve as a step toward improving and updating our parks for the enjoyment of every visitor. This capital improvement funding will be used to improve state park facilities and lodges across the state. Additionally, bathrooms and campsites will be updated or replaced through much of the parks system. We have been working to identify our most immediate needs and will continue to announce projects as we move through this process.
To assist in identifying key projects, ODNR has launched a website to allow everyone to submit their ideas for improvements within the Ohio State Parks system. By visiting parks.ohiodnr.gov/improvements, people can fill out a survey to suggest improvements at their favorite state park.
When you take the survey, you can select "Little Miami" to suggest projects along the Little Miami Scenic Trail, such as repaving, berm clearing or bank stabilization.
[From the Friends of the Little Miami State Park]
Following heavy rains on April 3, a section of riverbank near the trail slid into the river near mile marker 25, just north of Morgan's Riverside Campground.
"This is a natural process," reports Martin McAllister of Ohio State Parks. "Rivers serpentine, and their banks are often alluvial material which is easily eroded and deposited." This time the river moved its course dangerously close to the trail, and it's the trail that will have to yield. "Stream bank stabilization projects are possible on some streams," says McAllister, "but on a river this size and that has been designated as a state and national scenic river, large armament projects are almost always denied. The preferred option is to retreat (move the trail back)."
Engineers with the state Dept. of Natural Resources have already visited the site and drawn up plans for the trail move. In the meantime, the Friends have placed barriers with flashing solar lights, cones, and tape to mark the site for the safety of trail users.
If you think about it, this is a good challenge no matter what age you are. Take our challenge to bike your age - in miles. Take a look at our mileage matrix for some ideas where you can get your miles in on the Miami Valley Trails. Make a plan - are you going to break up your miles into multiple weekends, or will you get them in all at once?
When you're finished send us a snapshot like this one and we'll share it on Miami Valley Bike Trails, and in a future Trail Talk! E-mail photos to firstname.lastname@example.org and please use the subject: Bike Your Age.