Paddlers visit Ripley during the launch of the Ohio River Way


At the official launch of the Ohio River Way, a team of 20 modern-day adventurers visited Ripley on the morning of Thursday, June 2 as they continued their 250-mile canoe journey down the Ohio River from Portsmouth, OH to Louisville , KY.

The 250-mile journey began May 31 and was due to end June 9.

During their stop at the Lions Club Shelter on Lower Front Street in Ripley, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held and signs were left to mark the Ohio River Way.

“Our trip aims to promote safe outdoor adventure and recreation along the Ohio – and to highlight the unique historical, cultural and ecological assets to be discovered in the vibrant communities along its shores” , said Dr. David Wicks, vice president of the Ohio River. Manner and Chairman of the Board of River City Paddle Sports in Louisville, the trip organizer.

“Where else in America can you paddle, fish, water ski, hike, bike and camp while visiting Underground Railroad and Native American sites, historic river towns, 19th century architecture century, quaint main streets, farmers markets and dozens of breweries, wineries, and distilleries? said Brewster Rhoads, chairman of the Ohio River Way board.

Dedication ceremonies were to be held at various locations along the Ohio River Way, including Portsmouth (OH), Vanceburg (KY), Manchester Island (OH), Maysville (KY), Ripley (OH), Augusta ( KY), Chilo (OH), New Richmond (OH), Cincinnati (OH), Covington (KY), Aurora (IN), Rising Sun (IN), Boone’s Landing (KY), Vevay (IN), Carrollton (KY) , Madison (IN), Westport (KY) and Louisville (KY).

Joining the adventurers on their 250-mile journey was Portsmouth Mayor Sean Dunne, who had never been on a canoe before.

“It’s really great to be a part of this,” Dunne said. “It was my first time on the river and my first time on a canoe.”

While traveling the Ohio River from Portsmouth to Ripley, some paddlers said they had already witnessed spectacular nature scenes, including bald eagles.

Upon arrival at Ripley, paddlers were greeted with refreshments provided by locals.

“It’s actually an example of preservation and opportunity,” said Howard McClain, council member for the Village of Ripley, during the Ohio River Way tour. “Some people have been working behind the scenes in this town for many years to bring this town back to life.”

Ripley Village Administrator Wayne Gates spoke about major historic sites in Ripley – The Parker House and Rankin House – and how the launch of the Ohio River Way is bringing needed attention that will hopefully will help promote tourism.

“If we can get people here once, they’ll come back,” Gates said. “So we just have to make sure we get them here once, and efforts like this will go a long way to making that happen.”

Gates also mentioned Ripley’s new boat dock which is expected to be completed in a few years and is expected to be around 300 feet long when complete.

“We’re basically marking this destination,” Rhoads said of Ripley as he handed out Ohio River Way signs to put on the boat dock. “Experience the Ohio River way of life.”

About the Ohio River Way (ORW)

The Ohio River Way connects people and communities to adventure opportunities on and along the Ohio River from Portsmouth, OH to West Point, KY. Planning for the ORW began in 2019 with support from the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program. Through its website (, the ORW provides information on river towns, river safety and real-time river conditions, as well as a master calendar of over 150 annual river town festivals. and special events. ORW’s award-winning digital guide to the Ohio River helps paddlers, bikers, hikers, anglers and motorists plan their adventures by providing information on boat ramps, marinas, grounds camping, bike trails, parks, historic sites and other amenities.

The recent Ohio River Way Mayors and Elected Officials Summit, hosted by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval, brought together more than 70 federal, state and local elected officials from communities along d a 275-mile stretch of the Ohio River. Representatives from the National Park Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and more than 80 organizations, state agencies, tourism bureaus, and businesses all shared their support for the Ohio River Way and its potential to boost tourism , generating economic development and enriching the quality of life in river towns from Portsmouth, Ohio to West Point, KY.


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