This year we’re continuing our weekly look at unique festivals, events, and attractions that are within an easy driving distance. We call these “Summer Road Trips.” Of course, we regularly feature the many extraordinary places to visit right here in Richland County and encourage our readers to get out and experience what is on offer in our own backyard.

Today we’re turning our attention to a place where the beauty of nature joins opportunities for the whole family.

This week, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz designated the Lake Erie Islands Water Trail as Ohio’s 12th state water trail.

The trail consists of five separate sections totaling more than 50 miles around North Bass, Middle Bass and South Bass islands, Kelleys Island and along the mainland shorelines of Catawba Island and East Harbor State Park.

“The Lake Erie Islands join a diverse set of trails across Ohio that offer exceptional opportunities for Ohioans to see and explore our state from the water,” said Mertz. “These trails bring communities together, encourage environmental awareness and provide opportunities for people of all ages to be active and get outdoors.”

The Put-In-Bay Township Park District led efforts to create the water trail with assistance from the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program; Ohio Sea Grant; ODNR; Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. ODNR will be providing $4,500 for trail brochures and signage.

Visitors to the trail, including paddlers, anglers and nature enthusiasts, will find spectacular views of the scenic, rocky shorelines of the Lake Erie Islands and ways to explore these areas from a unique perspective.

For safety reasons, trail users are advised against paddling between islands. ODNR recommends that visitors check weather conditions before getting on the water and always wear a life jacket. Please visit for more information.

Ohio’s diverse system of water trails is statewide and includes the Great Miami, Kokosing, Mahoning, Maumee, Muskingum and Olentangy rivers. Some of the rivers are wild and natural, while others, like the Olentangy, travel through urban areas. Information about state water trails can be found at

Photo: Creative Commons License

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