From the moment the Wisconsin Glacier receded, the Little Miami River has been a backdrop to the rise and fall of people and the ebb and flow of civilizations. The Paleoindians. The mound builders. The Shawnee and the frontiersmen. And finally, the chaco-clad canoer.
It’s easy to see why this little river has drawn so much attention over the years. It winds its way through 107 miles of rich, beautiful country and supports too many species to be named. It is a fantastic fishery and, for folks bound up in the soul-crushing drudgery of urban life in Cincinnati and Dayton, it’s a cherished place to recreate. But the river’s proximity to these urban centers also means that it acts as a collection point for trash and debris.
Being an organization of folks who tend to give a damn, the Ohio Chapter of BHA sent out a call to its members to gather for a canoe float and river clean up in mid-June – our first Bass, Trash and BBQ bash. And though the weather was cantankerous, and river levels unpredictable, over 40 of our people showed up to do the good work that distinguishes citizens from residents.
We floated three miles – that’s all Thor would permit – and in that three miles we collected nearly 800 lbs of trash and debris. Eight. Hundred. Pounds.
After the float, we celebrated our good work with pulled whitetail neck and mule deer burgers. We drank beer and watched our children play on the banks. And some lucky folks took home some outstanding prizes from BHA sponsors Simms Fishing, Gerber and local Cincinnati outfitter Delamere and Hopkins. It was a fine day with fine people.
But a grim thought rattled around in my head.
Ohio boasts more than 60,000 miles of rivers and streams. Even a dullard like me can do the basic arithmetic of that equation. That’s about 16,000,000 pounds of trash…conservatively. And the trash just keeps coming. It won’t stop. That seems a tad daunting.
But if Budweiser can combine a margarita and a Bud Light, then anything is possible. All that it really takes is for one person to love a river, and for that person to stand up and convince others to do the same. I love the Little Miami and I hope all of you find your own river to love.
Jonathan Ingram, Ohio Chapter Co-chair