OH BHA Helps to Improve Fishing Access

Ohio BHA helping to improve fishing access along Chagrin River
by Jacob Pries and Dustin Lindley

While many anglers in Ohio are getting their last casts in and perhaps embellishing their best fish stories of the season as the temperature drops, fishing for steelhead is just starting to heat up. Those hearty enough to brave the cold Erie tributaries along the north edge of Ohio will not prospect for gold, but for flashing steel cutting through the water, hunting elusive and powerful rainbow trout that have been fattening up in the big lake.

One of today's finest and most beautiful rivers in the state is the Cuyahoga, most famous for catching fire in 1969. It had actually caught fire a great many times previous to this, but an article in Time magazine and accompanying photo made this particular event a shocking symbol of our degrading water quality. This event laid at the confluence of growing awareness of the detrimental effects of unfettered industrial pollution and a variety of cultural changes, and was one of many events that led to the development of the Environmental Protection Agency. While the Cuyahoga was a symbol of the vast destruction that we can wreak on our world, it has become a symbol of the healing that can happen when we care for our natural places. Rivers across Ohio have benefitted greatly from increased protection, but it's hard work that is not yet done.

Ohio BHA is dedicated to helping preserve these places, and providing greater opportunity for everyone to access our rivers. In keeping with that, we've committed to providing $5000 to a collaborative effort by the City of Willoughby and a variety of conservation organizations to acquire a total of 185 acres along another important Erie tributary, the Chagrin River, in two separate transactions. Funding has been secured on one 70 acre portion of the project where floodplain is currently being conserved adjacent to Daniels Park an existing park along the river. Fundraising for the remaining 105 acres is underway currently.

The currently funded 70 acre acquisition of land represents important greenspace preservation along the Chagrin River, and the trail system and its linkages between two existing parks is a vital step in developing the entire Chagrin River Trail system. The diagram below shows Daniels Park at the top, the property proposed for purchase designated by the dashed trail system, the access point bridges, and Todd Field at the bottom adjacent to Downtown Willoughby and Mentor Avenue (Rt.20).

Steel production was once a critical part of the economy of northern Ohio, and the rivers again provide substantial economic activity as one of the most productive steelhead fisheries in the country. We look forward to taking advantage of this new access, and hope that it enhances a sustainable and healthy use of the river, no burning necessary!

About Jameson Hibbs

I am a Chapter Coordinator for the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers covering Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, and Oklahoma. I reside in Kentucky with my wife and daughter. We are all avid users of public lands for all outdoor recreational

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