Originally planned as a collaboration between Columbiana, Mahoning, Trumbull, and Ashtabula counties, the Lake to River Trail is a 100-mile trail that connects Lake Erie to the Ohio River as a way to adapt old train rails for recreational uses.
The trail has so much to offer not only the state of Ohio as a whole but specifically the areas in which the trails would run and their residents. The trail will bring improvement from a financial standpoint, but also it presents an opportunity to beautify eastern Ohio and along with that create a healthier population. .
The original plan formulated in the late 1990’s planned for a bike trail spanning the entirety of eastern Ohio north to south, from Ashtabula in Lake Erie to East Liverpool on the Ohio River. Since then all of the counties involved in the plan have built bike trails within their jurisdiction that amount to roughly over half the mileage proposed for the 100-mile pathway.
Now I’ll admit I’ve never biked more than 30 miles in one day, but I think given a whole day I could complete the 100 mile trek. Or if you wanted to turn it into a multiple day adventure, I would hope they would integrate some kind of camping opportunity into the trail like you see with The Great Allegheny Passageway from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Washington D.C. Mirroring something like The Great Allegheny Passageway would be a great adventure when combining the biking with camping and food vendors along the way.
When pitched as a collaboration among several counties as a long-term project no exact timetable was put forward for the completion of the trail. Of course, the most challenging part of constructing a trail like this is navigating it through urban areas where land acquisition presents unique planning techniques. Even so, a majority of the proposed pathways and projects needed to finish the trail are all either in a conception stage or have already been planned and just waiting on construction. My hope is that we see this trail getting completed in the next few years, fingers crossed!
Rails to Trails Conservancy is a non-profit organization that works to preserve former railroad lines and convert them into trails across the country to promote health and nature to the population. They have worked on some wonderful projects and I encourage you to look into some of their work! The Lake to River Trail is a prime example of a project that helps fulfill their motto. Completion of the Lake to River Trail will create an attraction for outdoor and travel enthusiasts to visit eastern Ohio to partake in this outdoor adventure.
Not only does this project allow Ohio to rehabilitate land formerly reserved for train travel but it allows many people, not just native Ohioans, the ability to enjoy the natural beauty of Ohio while maintaining good health as well. The trail has the promise to provide not only adventure and excitement but also an avenue to experience these things while performing a healthy activity. This project was undertaken with the intent of being connected together providing a great many local as well as visiting travelers an excellent outdoor experience in eastern Ohio that displays the beautiful terrain of the Buckeye State.
The benefits for eastern Ohio abound with the completion of the trail. Local residents will have a nearby trail for adventurous trips as well as other recreational activity. Not to mention the draw it would pull from the rest of the state, western Pennsylvania, and the rest of the country and then, just maybe then people will show more love for The Buckeye State.