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Digital Tool Makes Navigating The Ohio River Easier

Courtesy of David Rutter
Approaching the Carrol Lee Cropper Bridge on June 6, 2019, on the west side as part of the Inaugural Ohio River Recreation Trail paddle.

Need to socially distance? How about a trip down the Ohio River? A new digital guide from the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) now makes it easier to navigate the waterway by boat, bike or car.

OKI Senior Environmental Planner David Rutter was on a canoe trip with friends from Cincinnati to Louisville when he discovered the two cities aren't connected that well by river.

Eventually he set out to create a free interactive map, using some resources already in place from a previous Paddlefest.

The Ohio Recreation Digital Guide is now finished and provides a lot of information for boaters, cyclists and motorists.

"As long as you have your location services turned on on your phone, it will zoom to where you're at," Rutter explains. "You can see what's around you, what the access places are. If you're in a power boat; where the marinas are at, where you can get fuel, where you can pump out."

The digital map also lists camps, showers, the best routes for cycling and links to river communities to find restaurants and historical sites.

Credit David Rutter
Sunset over the Markland Locks June 2, 2018. The digital guide provides information about coming into the locks.

It may also keep you safer, according to Rutter. "If you're in a canoe and you're coming around a bend and you're thinking, 'I'd like to cross to the other side of the river, I know there's a great restaurant over there,' you can look and see if there's any barge traffic that's heading in my direction."

The map covers 274 miles on the Ohio River from Portsmouth to West Point, Ky.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.