Parks receives boating safety education grant from ODNR

April 4, 2014

XENIA — Nearly $15,000 in grant funds was recently received by Greene County Parks & Trails (GCP&T) from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft through their boating safety education grant program, says the GCP&T Chief Naturalist.

“These grant funds will allow Greene County Parks & Trails to revitalize its boating safety programs,” said GCP&T Chief Naturalist Cris Barnett. “Our canoe inventory was aging out of its usefulness and we needed to replace our boating supplies to hold our boating safety programs designed for all ages.”

The park agency will use the funds to purchase eight new canoes, a trailer and other boating supplies, such as paddles, throw ropes and more. Funding will also be used to sponsor multiple boating safety classes held this year.

The series of boating programs, Barnett adds, will not only ensure that watercraft enthusiasts are safe but also encourage more residents to get out and enjoy the water trails found in Greene County.

“We not only have paved, multi-use trails in Greene County,” Barnett said, “but also miles of water trails with the Little Miami River and Massie Creek offering both canoeing and kayaking opportunities. We want both residents and visitors to safely enjoy these amazing recreational assets we have right here in Greene County.”

GCP&T Staff Naturalist Ashlee Schmitt, who also is a certified watercraft instructor through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft, will conduct the park agency’s boating safety programs.

The boating safety classes are unique to Greene County, Barnett adds.

“Greene County Parks & Trails is the only public agency offering boating safety classes in the county,” she says. “We’re thrilled to have receive the ODNR Division of Watercraft grant so we can provide these vital safe boating programs.”

The 2014 summer series of boating classes offered by the park agency include:

- Ohio Safe Boaters Education Course from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday, May 5 through Thursday, May 8, at the Narrows Reserve Nature Center, 2575 Indian Ripple Road, Beavercreek. The course will be repeated from Monday, June 2 to Thursday, June 5.

Class information will include boating safety, laws, preparing to be on the water and maximizing your enjoyment on the water. Cost is $30 for either session of classes. Pre-registration is required.

- A learn to canoe class will focus on the basics of canoeing, boating regulations, paddling, proper personal floatation devices and more.

Class will be held from 9 a.m.to 3 p.m, Saturday, June 21, at Spring Lakes Park, 2191 Ferry Road, Bellbrook. Canoes, paddles and personal floatation devices will be provided.

“Our own naturalist Ashlee Schmitt is also a certified watercraft instructor and will be assisting with the training,” said Greene County Parks & Trails Chief Naturalist Cris Barnett.

As part of the training, individuals will be in canoes practicing newly learned skills. Cost for the class is $10.

- A down river canoe float on the Little Miami River will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 26, at the Narrows Reserve (main parking lot), 2575 Indian Ripple Road, Beavercreek.

Canoes, paddles and personal floatation devices will be provided; two adults per canoe. Participants will view wildlife along the river’s edge with experience canoeing recommended.

Cost is $10 per canoe.

- In a Watercraft 101 youth program, campers will learn how to canoe, as well as about boating safety, life jackets, emergency responses, boating laws and more. Campers need to have a swimsuit, beach towel and water shoes. Open to campers between the age of nine to 15.

Two sessions will be held with the first camp scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. July 7 to 11, and the second session offered Aug. 4-9. Both camps will be held at Spring Lakes Park, 2191 Ferry Road, Bellbrook. Cost is $100 for Greene County residents; $110 for non-residents for the week of watercraft camp.

For more information about any of Greene County Parks & Trails summer boating programs, call the park agency at 937-562-6440 or email abotkin@co.greene.oh.us.